Things don’t look so hot in Egypt. The Supreme Court, a holdover of Mubarak appointees has declared the national assembly to be unconstitutional. They did the same for a law that would make it illegal for former members of the old regime to run for office. This throws the Muslim brotherhood out the window of legitimate government unless they are able to win the presidential run off election. Chances are, this will lead to more unrest and a revolutionary situation. Question is what is the position of the US in all this?
The voting in Egypt has just ended in what has been called a lackluster turnout. Are the Egyptians disappointed with the choice? Or does it seem that the Military Council and their cronies control the results behind the scenes? It certainly looks that way. As my anarchist friends say, “if voting mattered, it would be illegal.”
As of 9 PM Pacific Time CNN is reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood is claiming that their candidate is the winner.
The Muslim Brotherhood claims its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, has defeated Ahmed Shafik to become Egypt’s president.
The Islamist group said that 97% of all votes had been cast, though a count on the state-run Al-Ahram news website — while showing Morsi ahead in the race — suggested that millions more votes still needed to be counted.
Egypt’s military ‘grants itself sweeping powers’
Turnout in the second round was reported to be low
Egypt’s ruling military has issued a declaration apparently granting itself sweeping powers, as the country awaits results of presidential elections.
The document by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf) reportedly says new general elections can not be held until a permanent constitution is drawn up.
It also allegedly gives the Scaf legislative control.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood says its candidate, Mohammed Mursi, has won Sunday’s presidential election.
Mr Mursi, an Islamist, is competing against Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under former President Hosni Mubarak.
Mr Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood said he was holding a 52%-48% lead over Mr Shafiq with almost all the vote counted after Sunday’s second-round run-off election.
“Mohammed Mursi is the first Egyptian president of the republic elected by the people,” said a tweet from the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
But an official at Mr Shafiq’s campaign headquarters told Reuters news agency: “I do not accept this, I will not file wrong numbers.”
In other news, the Center-Right New Democracy won the election in Greece with 30% of the vote. They will have to form a minority government but they are keeping Greece in the EU and the euro.
From the BBC
Egypt voters’ ‘loss of faith’
By Lyse Doucet
BBC News, Cairo
Turnout has been lower in this election that in Egypt’s other post-revolution polls
Polls have closed across Egypt, ticking another box in a troubled transition to civilian rule in a nation exhausted by the process.
For large parts of the second day of voting in the presidential run-off, polling stations were largely quiet.
Was it the soaring heat, rising disaffection or mounting anger among Egyptians who felt robbed of a real choice in having to opt for an Islamist, Mohammad Mursi, or Ahmed Shafiq, a member of the old regime?
Last week’s dissolution of the first freely elected parliament by the Supreme Constitutional Court added weight to that growing sense of “does my vote matter?”
The turnout in the constitutional referendum of March 2011, soon after the heady days of the revolution, seemed to have happened in a different country.
Maybe it did.
In less than two years, Egypt has moved from dictatorship to revolution and now a transition to an uncertain state. Many have called recent events, including the decisions of the Supreme Constitutional Court, “a soft coup”.
There’s a growing sense that Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) is reluctant to hand over its powers and privileges - although the military repeatedly denies that.
“In this runoff, some Egyptians seemed more excited by not voting, than voting ”
A polarised country awaits news of its first freely elected president. This moment was meant to be one of the achievements of the extraordinary protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak on 11 February 2011.
“This should be a happy moment,” said the veteran journalist and publisher Hisham Qassem, “but we’ve realised there’s a hard road ahead. There isn’t a fairytale ending.”
BBC article on the consequences of the recent events in Egypt.
This from Foreign Policy
Top news: On Thursday, just days before a runoff presidential election, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that Ahmed Shafik, a former prime minister under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, could compete in this weekend’s contest. The judges also dissolved the country’s first democratically elected parliament because of problems with the law governing the race.
The BBC notes that the decision “effectively puts legislative power into the hands of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces,” and that activists are condemning Thursday’s rulings as a “‘coup’ designed to undermine the revolution, carried out by judges appointed under former President Mubarak.”
After the court’s decisions, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, who will square off against Shafik in the presidential runoff, warned that Egypt was headed for “very difficult days that might be more dangerous than the last days of Mubarak’s rule.” The Brotherhood won nearly half of the seats in parliament.
Some news about the US organizations in Egypt that were banned from the country.
AP: FAYZA ABOULNAGA LED THE CHARGE TO SHUT DOWN U.S. FUNDING OF DEMOCRACY GROUPS IN EGYPT
June 3, 2012
US democracy aid went to favored groups in Egypt
Brett J. Blackledge and Desmond Butler
WASHINGTON – Two months before Egyptian police stormed the offices of U.S.-backed democracy organizations last year, seven Egyptian employees resigned from one of the American groups to protest what they called undemocratic practices.
They complained that the U.S. group, described as nonpartisan, had excluded the country’s most popular Islamist political organization from its programs, collected sensitive religious information about Egyptians when conducting polls to send to Washington, and ordered employees to erase all computer files and turn over all records for shipment abroad months before the raids.
“Our resignation is a result of many different practices we have been witnessing that seem suspicious and unprofessional,” the Egyptian employees wrote in their Oct. 17 resignation letter.
This wasn’t the democracy that Dawlat Soulam, one of those who quit, said she had hoped to deliver to Egypt when she went to work for the International Republican Institute.