Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who’s Who in Egypt’s Presidential Elections

Here is my take on the elections’ most prominent candidates.

Aboul Fotouh:

Last weekend I attended his last presidential rally. I was impressed by the diversity of the people who accompanied him on stage. They ranged from actress Athar el Hakim to Salafi Noor party spokesperson Nader Bakar. The crowd was mostly middle class from different backgrounds. I saw girls without hair cover, women in Niqab, teens with spiky hair and men sporting the long Salafi beard.

Aboul Fotouh should be credited for his ability to attract such a diverse following, however, the question still looms: who is Aboul Fotouh? Is he Athar el Hakim? Or is he Abdel Meniem el Shahaat, the Alexandrian Salafi lunatic who endorsed him? Or is Aboul Fotouh  a go between both? We do not know.

The umbrella Aboul Fotouh wishes to represent is huge; he has to settle on a position. He cannot be Athar el Hakim and Abdel Meniem el Shahat at the same time.

Aboul Fotouh always reminds me of this scenario. Imagine if the Islamists in parliament repeated their attempt to pass a law that would literally render the Constitutional Court ineffective. Would President Aboul Fotouh sign the bill? The problem with Aboul Fotouh is that we do not know the answer to this question.

If President Aboul Fotouh decided to turn against his Salafi voters and adopt a really moderate and realistic stand on Sharia law, he can very well become our Erdogan, our Mahatir Mohamed. Judging from Fotouh’s rhetoric recently, we do not know if he will become an Erdogan or a Mullah Omar.

Amr Moussa:

I call him President Status Quo. Amr Moussa, as president, will maintain the status quo in Egypt. Nothing much will change. The guy is 76 years old! Moussa is the comfortable choice if you are not a revolutionary and if you think Shafik is too felool for you.  Moussa will be the choice of the voters who got tired of rocking the boat throughout the past year and a half.

I believe Moussa will take many of the undecided voters. He is the candidate with the highest name recognition.

Hamdeen Sabahy:

Sabahy will get your vote if you originally wished to vote Fotouh yet you think the latter is too vague and you just cannot get yourself to trust him. Sabahy is the candidate for all those young revolutionaries who do not know what type of president Aboul Fotouh will be, and who will never vote for Moussa or Shafik.

There are rumors that the sudden surge in Sabahy’s relative popularity was because of the Muslim Brotherhood supporting him with cash. There is still no evidence to support this but it is politically understandable especially that Sabahy has little chance of posing a real threat to the MB’s candidate.

Sabahy will not just get votes from those who do not trust Aboul Fotouh. Through his hard straightforward talk and clean past, Sabahy has managed to appeal to a wide array of voters who want to see a change in Egypt’s political life. He has a history of supporting Arab dictators, but who did not support Sadam during the Iraq war.

Ahmed Shafik:

A few months ago, no one would have ever given Shafik any significance. Yet through a well financed advertising campaign, he is starting to pick up especially with voters who are anti-revolution and want someone “strong” to bring the country back to normality (as if the army generals were schoolgirls!).

I still believe Shafik is weaker than Mousa in the rural areas and I consider him the to be the candidate of the upper/middle class voters who are so phobic of the Islamists and do not mind to see Egypt go back to square one.

Mohamed Morsy:

Mohamed Morsy is the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood members/sympathizers and whoever was bribed by the MB. He is also the candidate of the lunatic zealots who are not backing Aboul Fotouh. I expect Morsy to make it to round 2 simply because he enjoys two things: God and mammon. And it is hard to beat God and money combined!


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