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

US States Where Women Work for Free

Women earn less than men in all 50 states More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows Fight to Death Against IS

In wide-ranging interview, Fuad Masum describes new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs