A scholar says many Egyptians are expressing concern about the impact of the Muslim Brotherhood’s policies on their “secular lives” after the Islamic group claimed victory in the presidential run-off vote.
Said Sadek, professor of political sociology at the American University in Cairo, said many Egyptians are not religious fanatics, and are worried about the social policies the Muslim Brotherhood will implement.
He said years of propaganda against the Muslim Brotherhood makes Egyptians suspicious about the Islamic group.
“They have also seen many examples of Islamic states that restrict personal liberties and undermine human rights. And so not everybody in Egypt is crazy about or loves the Muslim Brotherhood,” Sadek said.
The group’s candidate Mohammed Morsi declared victory in the country's first presidential election following last year’s up-rising against President Hosni Mubarak. The group said unofficial results show he won about 52 percent of the vote in the two day run-off election that ended Sunday. It said it based its claim of victory on results tallied by the party’s representatives at almost all of the country's the polling stations.
But establishment-backed rival Ahmed Shafiq disputes the claim. One of his aids, Mahmud Barakeh, expressed astonishment at the Brotherhood's announcement, accusing the Islamists of “hijacking” the election by refusing to wait for the official results scheduled for Thursday.
Sadek said there appears to be low enthusiasm for both Morsi and Shafiq.
“The two choices left in the eyes of Egyptians symbolize what people didn’t want in the Egyptian revolution… the people were scared, and they felt that they had very little choice. Women, Copts, businessmen, liberals, were not happy with choosing the Islamists and they voted for Shafiq,” said Sadek.
“The whole electoral process reflected fear. It was not motivated by democracy or anything," he added. "People voted for Shafiq because they feared Morsi, and those who voted for Morsi did that because they feared Shafiq because [of his role] against the revolution. He may create the old system of [Hosni] Mubarak, with its corruption and violation of human rights.”
He said many Egyptians anxiously stayed up all night for the results of the second-round vote. Sadek said the country’s social networks reflected frustration, disappointment, shock, fear and many unhappy people.
“You don’t see people jumping in the street, because we have for the first time a freely elected president [who] does not promise respecting the universally declared human rights and personal liberties,” said Sadek.
He said the election of Morsi has dual implications for Egypt’s revolution, which ousted former President Mubarak.
“In one sense, it is a victory. We did not elect the same system, we got someone from outside the system. But at the same time Mr. Morsi is a product of a totalitarian ideology. He has been working for a party and an organization that has a special view about how things should be done and that may affect personal liberties and human rights,” he said.
The Cairo-based CBC Satellite Television Channel says in remarks following his declaration of victory, Morsi pledged to be a servant to all Egyptians.
“We people are equal,” he said. “No one will oppress the other. The powerful will not oppress the weak. The rights of the weak will not be neglected. We are all looking .forward to maintaining stability, love, and brotherhood, and seeing a… civil, national, democratic, constitutional, and modern state.”
The website for the daily Al-Arabiya
newspaper says Morsi has voiced support for women’s rights, freedom of expression – including peaceful protests - and for the rights of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority. The paper says he has called for a democratic state with a separation of powers.
Egypt's ruling military leaders have vowed to honor their promise to hand over power to the newly elected president by the end of the month.
The ruling generals’ announcement Monday comes a day after they declared a new interim constitution, a move that diminishes the powers of the eventual election winner. The military council has led the country since Mubarak's ouster in March 2011.