News / Middle East

Egyptian Islamists, Military Face Off Over Future

An Egyptian supporter of Muslim brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi wearing a shirt with Arabic that reads, An Egyptian supporter of Muslim brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi wearing a shirt with Arabic that reads, "'Mohammed Morsi, president for Egypt" chants slogans in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, June 18, 2012.
x
An Egyptian supporter of Muslim brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi wearing a shirt with Arabic that reads,
An Egyptian supporter of Muslim brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi wearing a shirt with Arabic that reads, "'Mohammed Morsi, president for Egypt" chants slogans in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, June 18, 2012.
Elizabeth Arrott
CAIRO - The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi is poised to become Egypt's first post-revolution president.  With most of the votes counted, the widely-presumed next leader will likely face a power struggle with the nation's military.  
 
The sweeping consolidation of power by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, almost overshadowed Morsi's claim to victory.  But in a country braced for a win by his rival, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who also is claiming the lead, both moves took many Egyptians by surprise.
 
After the polls closed Sunday, the SCAF issued a constitutional declaration granting itself legislative powers, control of the economy and the right to pick who will draft the next constitution.  The announcement followed the Supreme Council's formal, court-ordered dissolution of the Islamist-led parliament the day before.
 
  • Egyptians show their inked fingers after casting their votes in Giza, Egypt.
  • A voter prepares to cast his vote at a polling station in Cairo.
  • Ballot counting began after polls closed in Cairo on Sunday.
  • Mohammed Morsi and his supporters celebrate his victory at his campaign headquarters in Cairo, June 18, 2012.
  • Celebrations broke out in Cairo's Tahrir square.
  • Workers uninstall a billboard showing presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq in Cairo.
  • A Morsi supporter celebrates his victory in Tahrir Square.
  • Morsi supporters celebrated in Tahrir square.
  • A bread seller in Tahrir square, making a victory sign.
Click to view photo gallery
On Monday, with news of Morsi's lead solidifying, the military conveyed it would share in guiding the country.
 
General Mamdouh Shaheen said the SCAF had replaced the parliament and would discuss draft laws with the new president.  He described the process as a balance between the Supreme Council and the head of state.
 
Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party, or FJP, appeared ready to push back against the military's newly-acquired powers, which came only two weeks before the SCAF had promised to hand over power to civilian rule.
 
Egypt's Interim Constitution Declaration
 
  • Published by ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on June 17
  • Amends the council's Constitutional Declaration of March 2011
  • Requires next president to take oath of office before the Supreme Constitutional Court because parliament is dissolved
  • Gives Supreme Council of the Armed Forces authority over all affairs of the military
  • Makes council chairman, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, armed forces commander, defense minister
  • Gives military leaders power to appoint panel to draft new constitution
  • Postpones new parliamentary elections until new constitution is approved
  • Grants military leaders powers to initiate legislation until new parliament elected
Some members of the FJP-dominated parliament have refused to recognize the ruling disbanding it.  Some have vowed to stage protests or try to enter the building on Tuesday.  Security forces have surrounded the parliament.
 
At a news conference on Monday, Morsi called for calm. Morsi said he is seeking stability and love in a civic, national democratic and modern state.
 
Ahmed Shafiq's campaign said their candidate has a slight lead and that Morsi had hijacked the election. 
 
Voter turnout in the runoff election was low, an apparent sign of little enthusiasm about the two candidates, neither of whom many voters say represents their vision for Egypt's future. 
 
For many of the people who took part in last year's uprising, the choice was particularly grim, prompting some to boycott the vote or go to polls and nullify their ballots.
 
Cairo University political scientist Hassan Nafaa says the problem is that the military has shown little acknowledgement of last year's protests.

"The thing is whether you under recognize that there has been a big revolution in this country or not; and what are the needs, what are the mistakes committed by the old regime?  If you draw these kinds of lessons and you try to redress the situation, maybe you will succeed.  But they have a set of mind that is not capable of drawing the right lessons," he said. 

Watch the interview with Hassan Nafaa


 
The potential showdown between the two major forces in Egypt of the past half-century,  the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, have many people concerned about something similar to the Algerian civil war of the 1990s, when an Islamist victory at the polls was canceled.
 
But Hassan Nafaa says the military, which is seen by many people here as a guarantor of stability, would not engage in armed conflict with fellow Egyptians. "I don't think there will be a repetition of what happened in Algeria in Egypt.  It is a different country and a different mentality and a different balance of forces," he said. 
 
Nafaa does not rule out the possibility of some violence in the wake of the election, but he says the biggest fight will be a political power struggle. 
 
The SCAF's declaration lays out a timeframe for writing the constitution and holding new elections for parliament - raising the possibility that Egypt's political limbo, now 16 months old, could continue until the end of the year.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Daud from: Nairobi
June 18, 2012 8:21 PM
I hope that the Egyptian people able to solve the political situations and the violence actions, which stands on their country.
I think it is the time of consolidation and finishing the misagreement among them, I also hope these people have enough experience and sophistication. I say, do struggle

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More