|Egypt after the presidential election
Political situation in Egypt after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak is still politically unstable. The presidential election with politicians representing two different powers in the second round should have become a step toward stability. Ahmed Shafiq was the last prime minister of the “Mubarak era”; he is related to the overthrown regime and has connections with the army which eventually ousted Mubarak. Shafiq is considered a secular candidate who based his campaign on the promise of restoring security in the country.
Yet, the majority of Egyptian voters have chosen another candidate Mohamed Mursi, whose name is related to apprehensions concerning strengthening the positions of the radical Islam in the country. During the presidential election he was the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party. Mursi promised to bring “stability, security, justice and prosperity”, yet that was an Islamic-minded campaign.
The response to the results of the presidential election in Egypt was quite calm, although there was fear of a serious confrontation. When the Electoral Commission of Egypt postponed the announcement of the results from 21 to 24 of June, both candidates declared their victory. In the context of dissolution of the Parliament this raised doubts on possible non-recognition of the election. Yet, after the official result was announced, Mohamed Mursi received a message of congratulation not only from the leaders of foreign states but also from Ahmed Shafiq and Egypt’s ruling military chief Hussein Tantawi.
Today the Egyptian society is split into two parts. One is afraid that the country might take the direction of the radical Islamists, i.e. reduce the rights and freedoms of citizens and use religious dogmas as a means to control/influence the society. This part of the society supports Shafiq and believes that he could offset religious forces.
Another part of society is afraid of a “counterrevolution” and of a possible return of the Mubarak-Era Officials to power. For them Ahmed Shafiq is a symbol of the old regime. In this context Mohamed Mursi has become an alternative to Mubarak’s Men. His political platform with the prevailing religious component is acceptable for not very rich and not very literate Egyptians who form the majority in the country.
Mohamed Mursi pledged to “be president of all Egyptians”. It will be a difficult task, for Egyptians don’t trust power structures, there is no stable political culture in the country and society is suspicious of any concentration of power.
The victory of Mohamed Mursi is evaluated as a dangerous development for Israel – both candidates used hostile terms toward Israel during their election campaign. Though in 1979 Egypt signed the Peace Treaty with Israel, the attitude of the majority of Egyptians toward Israel is negative and they refer to this country as a major threat to Egypt.
Yet, an aggressive anti-Israel rhetoric might prevent Egypt from receiving the support of the international community. Mohamed Mursi has already assured that Egypt will preserve the peace treaty with Israel and will not escalate tension in the region. But the above statements could hardly calm down Israel: during his interview to the Iranian Fars news agency a newly elected president of Egypt spoke about a possibility to reconsider the peace treaty with the Jewish state and promised to build ties with Iran.
Tourism is one the main sources of income for Egypt. Therefore, in order to ensure regional stability, involvement into serious conflicts with Israel or becoming an Islamic state is not good for the country.