With the choice of Mohamed Morsi as Egypt’s first freely elected president since the birth of the Egyptian Republic in 1953, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is moving to consolidate its control of the country. The presidential election came down to a choice between the militant Islamist ideology of Morsi and Ahmed Shafik, the man perceived to represent the interests of the military forces that have ruled the republic since it was first declared.
Egypt has been undergoing a transition since the “Arab Spring” uprising in early 2011 toppled the government of President Hosni Mubarak. The events in Egypt, in turn, led to a wave of uprisings that have still not come to a conclusion; for example, Syria continues to suffer from the ongoing battle between the army of President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces.
Throughout the 16 months that have passed since the downfall of the Mubarak government, the Egyptian military has overseen a process of "democratization" that has included free elections for the parliament and the presidency. Despite widespread rumors that the military was planning to renege on its promises, the process has continued. In the words of one anonymous official who spoke to Reuters:
"The military council has done its duty in keeping the election process free and fair, a true example of democracy, to the world," said the official, who asked not to be named.
"The onus now is on the new president to unite the nation and create a true coalition of political and revolutionary forces to rebuild the country economically and politically."
However, rebuilding a nation could easily prove to be vastly more difficult than tearing down the military government. As reported previously for The New American, even as the elections committee was preparing to declare Morsi the winner of the elections, thousands of his followers returned to Tahrir Square, denouncing "military rule."
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Photo: In this photo released by Middle East News Agency, the Egyptian official news agency, President-elect Mohammed Morsi shakes hands with an Egyptian police general in Cairo, Egypt, June 26, 2012. : AP Images