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, "'Mohammed Morsi, president for Egypt" chants slogans in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, June 18, 2012.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, "'Mohammed Morsi, president for Egypt" chants slogans in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, June 18, 2012.
    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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora