Egyptians Voted for Themselves
DrMarty | May 26, 2012 at 03:56 amby
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About 73% of the voters cast their first round ballots for three candidates--Muslim Brotherhood "backup" candidate Mohamed Mursi (26%), Mubarak-era Civil Aviation Minister and Premier General Ahmed Shafik (25%), and left-of-center Nasserite Hamdeen Sabahi (22%). The overall votes split evenly between Islamist and secularists.
Coptic Christians, fearful of the Islamist power, by and large voted for General Shafik. The vote accurately reflected the visions and splits within the Egyptian people.
The surprising vote for the Nasserite candidate (he won with a large plurality in both Cairo and Alexandria, the two major urban centers of the country) probably means that the young, secular bloc of voters who led the Tahrir Square protests last year that brought down the Mubarak government, will likely be the deciding factor in the second round runoff between Mursi and Shafik in mid-June. According to a leading Egyptian activist from the January 25th Movement, those young voters are, for the moment, split into one demoralized group that wants to boycott the final round of voting, a group that wants to back Mursi to assure that the "ancient regime" is permanently buried, and a group that believes that General Shafik will be an interim and weak president and is therefore the lesser evil to the Muslim Brotherhood's prospect of consolidating Islamist power.
Ultimately, the direction that Egypt goes in the near future will be greatly determined by events outside Egypt, especially the outcome of the fight over how to handle the trans-Atlantic financial disintegration, and the question of war and peace, which looms over the region and the planet as a whole.
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