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    Posted June 17, 2012 by
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    The Mideast Watch - After Arab Spring Egypt Votes


    Saturday  and Sunday, Egyptians have filed to the polls to elect the first  democratically selected president since last year's Arab Spring uprising  which overthrew the over 3-decade rule of Hosni Mubarak. Voters were  choosing a hold-over from the Mubarak or a leader of the Muslim  Brotherhood.

    As  Egyptians cast ballots the military command which has ruled the nation  since the overthrow and leading up to the election issued a temporary  Constitution to guide the nation until a constitutional convention could  be gathered to write a new Constitution. Two attempts for the  convention have failed so far.

    As  Egyptians voted in a second day of elections for a successor to Hosni  Mubarak, the ruling military issued an interim constitution Sunday  defining the new president's authorities, a move that sharpened the  confrontation with the Muslim Brotherhood and showed how the generals  will maintain the lion's share of power no matter who wins.

    With  parliament dissolved and martial law effectively in force, the generals  granted themselves considerable authorities. They will be the country's  lawmakers, control the budget and will control who writes the permanent  constitution that will define the country's future.

    A significant  question will be how their relationship will be with the new president  who emerges from the Saturday-Sunday runoff between Ahmad Shafiq,  Mubarak's former prime minister, and conservative Islamist Mohammed  Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    "If it happens that they  announce he (Shafiq) is the winner, then there is forgery," said  Brotherhood spokesman Murad Mohammed Ali. "We will return to the  streets" _ though he added, "we don't believe in violence."

    Shafiq,  who is a former air force commander, is seen as the generals' favorite  in the contest and would likely work closely with them. So closely that  his opponents fear the result will be a continuation of the  military-backed, authoritarian police state that Mubarak ran for nearly  29 years.

    A victory by his opponent, the conservative Islamist  Mohammed Morsi, could translate into a rockier tussle over spheres of  power between his Muslim Brotherhood and the military.


    The  Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt is fighting for political survival  against the country's military rulers, resisting the military's  attempts to dissolve the parliament and urging voters to back the  Brotherhood's man for president on this second day of voting.

    Relatively  few Egyptians appear to be turning out to cast ballots as the  Brotherhood’s presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, faces former  military man Ahmed Shafiq in a race that has high stakes for the  Brotherhood. If Mr. Shafiq wins, many in the once-banned organization  fear a return to the days of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, when  Brotherhood members were often arrested in their homes and detained for  years.

    The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) said in a  statement Saturday evening that the military has no right to order the  dissolution of parliament, and such a decision can only come through a  national referendum. The statement is a challenge to the Supreme Council  of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military generals ruling Egypt, who  said a Thursday court ruling means the parliament is null. The generals  have sent soldiers to the assembly building who are refusing to allow  members of parliament to enter.

    “The constant threat to dissolve a  parliament elected by the will of 30 million Egyptians confirms the  Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ desire for a total power grab  against the popular will,” said the FJP in a statement that called the  ruling a “blatant attack on the great Egyptian revolution.”

    The  SCAF’s decision is based on a ruling by Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional  Court Thursday that the law governing the parliamentary elections, which  ended in January, erred when it allowed parties to contest the seats  reserved for independents.

    Coming after months of threats of  parliament dissolution by the SCAF-appointed government to the  Brotherhood, and from a court full of Mubarak-appointed justices, the  ruling is seen by many in Egypt as politicized. It has increased the  power of the military, and hurt the Brotherhood, whose party held about  half the seats in parliament and had used that position to secure a  solid hold on a committee elected to write Egypt’s new constitution. The  military has now indicated it will appoint a new constitutional  committee.


    The  outcome of the election could have serious consequences for relations  with Israel. Depending on the outcome, it could place tension and strain  on how the US deals with the new government as well.

    Egypt is one of the recipient of one of the largest foreign aid from the US of A. Only Israel receives more aid.

    From the Cornfield, will the Arab Spring come to a peaceful conclusion as a new president is elected?

    Will the outcome of the Egyptian election signal concern on a 2nd Arab Spring?

    Depending  on the outcome, how could this affect President Barack Obama's  re-election campaign, if the US is forced to choose between Israel and  Egypt?

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