In their country’s first presidential election, Egyptians had a choice between two devils they already knew, a Mubarak regime member and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. They appear to have chosen the worse devil.
The winner of the presidential runoff held this weekend will be officially announced on Thursday. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most powerful political group, claimed early Monday that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, had defeated Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister.
The military says it will hand over power at the end of June.
Update: On the other hand…
Egypt’s military leaders issued a constitutional decree Sunday that gave the armed forces sweeping powers and degraded the presidency to a subservient role, as the Muslim Brotherhood declared that its candidate had won the country’s presidential runoff election.
The bold assertion of power by the ruling generals followed months in which they had promised to cede authority to a new civilian government by the end of June. Instead, activists and political analysts said, the generals’ move marked the start of a military dictatorship, a sharp reversal from the promise of Egypt’s popular revolt last year.
Since the Arab Spring began and Mubarak fell, Egypt has faced a fork in the road. Down one path lay Turkey, a secular state that could take on Islamist trappings but still remain essentially secular as long as the army had a say. Down the other lay Iran, a full blown Islamist state with all of the state-sponsored terror and oppression that that implies. The voters seem to have chosen Iran, while the military is trying to deliver Turkey.