Turmoil Returns to the Land of the Pharaohs (Again)

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

San Leandro (Calif.)—The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt declared this year’s Parliamentarian elections, wherein the Islamists won enough seats to form a government, null and void and the candidacy of Ahmed Shafik, who fortunately has seemingly lost to his Islamist challenger, to be legal in their rulings of the fourteenth of June.  (Shafik was the former [and] last President under Hosni Mubarak.)

This has put the banks of the Nile into an uproar during the Presidential polls of last Sunday.  Thus, many, who forced the old rule to step down, are asking themselves whether they have lost their revolution along the path.

The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) noted on the fifteenth that the decision “effectively puts legislative power into the hands of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.”  Further, the activists of Tahrir Square are condemning Thursday’s (14th) rulings as a “’coup’ designed to undermine the revolution, carried out by judges [who were] appointed under [the former] President Mubarak.”

After the court’s decisions, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, who will run against Ahmed Shafik in the presidential runoff, warned that Egypt was headed for “very difficult days that might be more dangerous than the last days of Mubarak’s rule,” forcing wrangling between the Army and the Executive (i.e., the Brotherhood). Although the Brotherhood won nearly half of the seats in parliament, this technical ruling will force a re-run of that which has already been determined.

According to the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper, the Brotherhood has now been cheated out of its power base in Parliament, and temporarily to have propelled the military-backed candidate, Ahmed Shafik, who is part of the old establishment.  Now, that he has not won, what does that do to the Arab Republic of Egypt?

Dr Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a centrist former presidential candidate, stated that “Keeping the military candidate [in the race], and overturning the elected parliament — after granting the military police the right to arrest — is a complete coup, and whoever thinks that millions of youth will let it pass is deluding themselves.”

Abdel-Rahman Hussein quoted Saad Aboud of the Karama (Dignity) Party in the Guardian:  “This is a politicised verdict that constitutes a coup in political life. With the other verdict allowing Shafik to continue in the race, today means the death of the revolution, and it is now imperative that we reconstruct it!”  This almost is similar to what happened some years back in Algiers when the left-of-Center government refused to hand the reins of power over to an Islamist party who won at the polls.   This led to years of vicious rending civil war. 

David Hearst and Hussein both assert that the court’s ruling throws Egypt into a period of further political instability and uncertainty after nearly a year and a half of troubled transition under the eyes of SCAF (the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces).

Al Jazeera reports that there are signs from the Brotherhood and the Salafi Nour Party, the legislature’s other main power broker that Parliament may refuse to dissolve itself.  This would lead to a Constitutional battle between the Armed Forces and the elected representatives, which could lead to uncontrollable violence and civil war at the end.  At the same time there is some speculation that the Army and the Brotherhood will make an accommodation to share sovereignty.

Ultimately, though, as David Kirkpatrick reports in the New York Times, the timing of the ruling seems like a transparent attempt to undermine the Islamists just two days before Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood is set to compete in the runoff, the former air force general and high-ranking politician (P.M.) under it Mubarak.  Ultimately, though, the judgment has not failed to prevent the Islamists from reaching the executive post.

The Egyptian people at the moment must feel tremendously cheated, and, if the nation is to avoid the Algerian debacle, the lower military officer ranks and the soldiers themselves must defend the rights of the people.  If the senior officer core is able to re-enforce the pre-revolt period milieu, how can an Algerian-style war be avoided?

Pray for the people of the primordial Egyptian land!


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