Summary: It appears the run-off to be Egypt’s president will be between the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mursi, and a prominent figure in the Mubarak regime, Shafiq. If Mursi wins runoff, Egypt will be radical, anti-American, belligerent toward Israel. War will be possible. If Shafiq wins the runoff the Brotherhood-dominated parliament could still give him only minimal power, pick a Brotherhood prime minister to run the country, and the previous paragraph would still be true. But what if the army backed Shafiq in a confrontation with the Brotherhood and Salafists, or the Islamists launched violence to protest a “stolen revolution?” In other words, while there are alternative futures all of them look pretty nasty. And of course the media and experts who predicted a victory for a “moderate Islamist” once more got it wrong.
According to the Brotherhood, the almost complete vote counting for president looks like this.
Mohamed Mursi (Brotherhood) 28.4 percent
Ahmed Shafiq (Mubarak-era general and last prime minister) 24.6
Abdul Moneim Abul Fotouh (so-called “moderate Islamist” but supported by radical Islamist Salafists) 18.1
Hamdeen Sabahi (radical anti-American “left” Nasserist) 17.1%
Amr Moussa (radical nationalist pragmatist) 11.6%.
The Brotherhood claims that this means it will win the second round. I’m not 100 percent sure that’s true. It seems possible but not inevitable. If a second round would be a straight contest between a secularist and an Islamist, whom would voters choose?
After all, according to this the total Islamist vote is around 46 percent, not enough to win. One key question would be where would the Sabahi voters go? Are these people anti-Islamists who like a left-wing (virtually Communist-style) candidate or are they people who want a further-going revolution and might back the Brotherhood candidate?
Here are the three key points, assuming these numbers are correct:
- Once again we have been misled by “experts” and media who slanted coverage toward the alleged popularity of Abul Fotouh. They should have backed secularists and not “moderate Islamists.” There should be some apologies and rethinking, but of course that won’t happen.
- Egyptian/Arab nationalism has revived, receiving about 52 percent of the vote! And that means Shafiq could win in the run-off round. And here’s another point of importance: If Egyptians want an alternative to Islamism it will be radical populist nationalism, not moderate cosmopolitan liberalism.
- This shows that things since the revolution have become so bad that a lot of Egyptians are nostalgic for the Mubarak era. Perhaps it wasn’t such a great idea to overthrow the regime.
Again: Caution, this is based on figures that might not be accurate.