The first round of Egypt’s presidential election is over. After the dust cleared there were left two completely opposing candidates set for a run off in a country fresh from political upheaval. The run off which will decide the country’s next president will be between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi and a veteran of Hosni Mubarak’s ousted government, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.
The first round of the presidential elections was held on Wednesday and Thursday in the North African country. The results showing the run off occurring between the two men above mentioned are preliminary. The second round of the election will be held on June 16-17. Official results from the first round will not be released until the beginning of next week.
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Egypt’s military has said that it will hand over power two weeks after the run off election that will decide the country’s president. That is complicated by the candidates chosen by the country’s people, assuming the preliminary results are correct. Shafiq is the preferred candidate of the military. They have worked closely with him before, under Mubarak’s regime, when he was commander of the Air Force. He is a military man.
The Muslim Brotherhood may decide to reject a result that picks a former Mubarak follower to lead the country once again. The attitude of the Egyptian people as a whole on the election of one they term “feloul” or a “remnant” of the old regime could be disastrous on the country’s future. Egypt has intermittently held protests against their military leaders since the ousting of their President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The Muslim Brotherhood has warned of similar happenings if Shafiq is elected in June.
On the other hand Mr. Shafiq still supports the old regime and has maintained complete support for it publicly. He sees the coming of an Islamic party, like the Muslim Brotherhood into power as the worst thing that could happen to the country.
The coming second round of the election will be extremely heated and its result will have huge implications for the country’s future. The return of a Mubarak loyalist could result in chaos while the transfer of both legislative and executive power to the Muslim Brotherhood could set off a series of conflicts between that group and the country’s current main power house the Supreme Military Council.
Egypt, and the countries surrounding it, face uncertain and volatile times. The country’s struggle for democracy is far from over and a more challenging time may lie ahead.