Since last February I have predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would win elections in Egypt. People have thought me very pessimistic. Now the votes are starting to come in, and … it’s much worse than I thought. My prediction that the Brotherhood and the other Islamists would gain a slight majority seems to have been fulfilled, and then some. According to most reports, the Brotherhood is scoring at just below 40 percent all by itself.
The results are worse than expected for two reasons:
First: the votes we now have come from the most urban areas of the country.
If there are Facebook sophisticates, they’re going to be in Cairo and Alexandria. If the moderates do that bad in the big cities, what’s going to happen in the villages up the Nile? If the fascist party came in first in some European countries’ Social Democratic districts, you know you are in trouble.
The Brotherhood came in first in Cairo and Alexandria. Think about that. Of course there are millions of migrants from rural areas in those places, but that’s also where the middle class, such as it is, lives.
Second: the moderate parties didn’t even come in second — they came in third, or close to it.
The Salafists — people who are even more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood — came in second. That they did that well is a surprise. That they did that well without bumping the Brotherhood down a notch is really shocking.
Estimates for the Justice Party, the Facebook kids of January, are getting 5 to 10 percent. Even together with the other two main moderate parties, that means the liberals won’t be able to block anything. Already the Brotherhood is tasting blood and talking about pressing the army junta to accelerate the turnover of power.
It’s hard to see, though, that there can be any such transfer of power. The voting is far from finished and will be going on for about three months more, followed by a presidential election. And yes: the results so far suggest that the Islamists will also win the presidency.