Egypt’s democracy is in peril
Unofficial results indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi is to become the first democratically elected president in the history of Egypt, with more than 52 percent of the votes against his rival, the former military commander and a remnant of Mubarak's regime, Ahmed Shafiq.
However, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has already expanded its tentacles to make the seat of the presidency a shell with no real powers.
A few days before the presidential election, SCAF dismantled the democratically elected parliament as a preventive measure in case the Muslim Brotherhood candidate won the election. SCAF then moved to solidify its grip on legislative power and the national budget, and appointed a panel of its own cronies to draft a new Constitution. These measures are of great concern to the Egyptian people and Western countries who do not wish the fragile democratic experience to be torpedoed by the military establishment.
SCAF was not really there to save the revolution as some observers indicated. The alliance of the military, the security services and the cronies of the old regime all joined hands from the beginning to thwart the revolution, resuscitate the old order and give it a new face. SCAF not only dismantled a democratically elected parliament, but refuses to grant real powers to the elected president, and thus opens a new front with the opposition and the Egyptian people who rose to the streets in January 2011, to face the killing machine of the former dictator Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir Square.
The fear of the Muslim Brotherhood is exaggerated, and their influence in Egyptian society is limited, and thus the parliament as well as the presidency will not be able to operate without reaching out to the rest of the Egyptian opposition. Thus, SCAF cannot use the examples of Libya or Syria to mask its real intentions, which are derailing the democratic process in Egypt, and preparing for a total coup d'etat.
The regional tensions have played a significant role in thwarting the democratic process in Egypt. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, especially Saudi Arabia, have expressed great concern about the Muslim Brotherhood, which they consider a destabilizing factor, and a movement that is more theocratic than it really appears. Thus, economic and financial pressures have been exerted against the government to take action and prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from consolidating their power on the Egyptian state as conditions to access to financial assistance, credit and GCC markets. The United States and Western Europe prefer continuity in the democratic process. The question remains as to what the Egyptians will do regarding the obstinate view of the military junta that does not seem to understand that times are different and that the military belongs in the barracks.
American University, the United States