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Egypt: The Resurrection of Ahmed Shafiq

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Elections 2011/2012.

The initial results of the first stage of the Egyptian presidential election indicate that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq will take part in the runoff vote on June 16 and 17.

There has been widespread shock at the reemergence of Shafiq, one of the “feloul”, or “remnants” of Mubarak's regime. It seems that a majority of Copts as well as many others chose to vote for Shafiq fearing the Islamization of the country and seeking stability.

Netizens have been strongly divided over Ahmed Shafiq's success.

Ahmed Shafiq press conference, 14/5/2012. Image by Virginie Nguyen (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

In a blog post entitled “It is Time of Silence”, Zeinab Mohamed wrote:

My only consolation is that from 90 million Egyptians only 50% of the eligible voters in the country (50 million) participated in this election so we are speaking about 25 million voters only, the historical elections that reminds me of the Six-Day War defeat.
I do not have any words, it is like choosing between two hells: the Muslim brotherhood or Shafiq!!!
We are all to blame especially the #Jan25 Revolutionaries who sat back in bubbly Cairo ‘that voted for Shafiq’ and in their closed social networks realms. We are responsible for this without doubt.
I do not want to speak now but one thing for sure I feel my generation has the same feeling that the 1967 generation felt and I am afraid of that feeling.

Shafiq campaign poster near Shafiq headquarters sprayed with "feloul". Image from Al Jazeera Live Blog (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Hafsa Halawa tweeted angrily:

@Hhafoos: #mubarak is pissin his pants from laughter right now…

Caricature artist Ahmed El Massry expressed his disappointment:

@AElMassry: بعد النتيجه دى يبقى بقى ‎‫#احنا_اسفين_يا_شهداء‬‏
After this result, we are sorry, martyrs

Egyptian-American journalist Reem Abdellatif warned:

@Reem_Abdellatif: Political experts i've talked to expect #Egypt to head toward collision w/ “demos, violence, claims of fraud” if #Shafiq wins.

Other people, on the other hand, support Ahmed Shafiq and celebrated his win. Expatriate businessman Ashraf Ismail explained why he supports Shafiq:

Mr Shafiq has a both conservative and liberal way of thinking and is known to be a very practical person aiming to bring stability to the country and solid investments. Whereas Mr Morsi is an Islamist hardliner with an affiliation to a group that has a deceitful history full of violence.
In terms of future investments and socio-economic development programmes, it is widely envisaged that Egypt’s economy will rapidly grow under Mr Shafiq’s development progamme. Others do have reservations and fears about the state of affairs that Egypt will go through should Mr Morsi wins this race.

Ranya Khalifa pointed out:

@RanyaKhalifa: Stop blaming Copts for #Shafiq's rise!! If you want a “democracy” then don't take it piecemeal..Egyptians are free to choose whom they want!

Journalist Rawya Rageh quoted Shafiq:

@RawyaRageh: #Shafiq: No such thing as I'm affiliated to the old regime, if we say so, then the whole of #Egypt is. We need to grow up, drop this issue.

Although some revolutionary factions warned they will take to the streets if Ahmed Shafiq wins, the leader of Al Nour Party, Egypt's major Salafist party said that they would not protest.

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Elections 2011/2012.

  • http://Balkingpoints.com Roy Greenfield

    Three lower-finishing candidates challenged the election result and demanded a recount, that today was denied. But Americans will nod about it all in familiar approval. Welcome Egypt to free elections!

    You routinely have election result challenges in USA – they rarely prevail but can sometimes. It is almost a social responsibility of a losing candidate whom believes there were irregularities, to file a challenge. In 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry failed to do so over State of Ohio returns, which tipped the election into an overall win for George Bush. Yet there turned out to be many irregularities (which Progressive regard as all out fraud by the state Republican party).

    The New York Times also reports that overall turnout was a shocking 47%. 20 points lower than the earlier parliamentary elections. That is very much an aberration – always the opposite for USA (which is how Republicans run Congress). And especially for an historic first chance for literally everyone in Egypt, to choose their president. It indeed IMO, expresses vast dissatisfaction with the candidates.

    To which again the American says “welcome to democracy”. It’s a mess, it’s flawed, and you don’t get ideal people. The vote is about lesser of evils – keeping the worst people and ideas out of power. When this runoff is decided in June, that is what Egyptians will effectively be saying to the loser. And that alone, is reason enough to get yourself registered and show up on election day.

    The block quote above of Zeinab Mohamed – wanting to place a laziness blame on the Jan 25 generation – is admirable to a point, but I cannot agree with it. You cannot perpetually stay in street-protest and revolution mode. They did that and got that done, to the world’s awe & unbridled support. The Arab Spring that started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt and Libya to topple dictators, and then to challenge them across the Middle East – was an historical turning point that not only brought long overdue political change, but sent a message to the world about what will be possible in the WWW age. You can’t subjugate populations, whom can find out how the free world lives. They want in, and regimes from Syria to Myanmar to China – won’t be stopping them in the long frame.

    Bad candidates aren’t good – only exponentially better than what Egypt had…

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