Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Flash: What, Me Pessimistic? Egyptian Election Outcome is Worse Than I Expected


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These are actual New York Times headlines used in covering the 1932 German and 2011 Egyptian elections. It is not meant to suggest that these two events are exactly the same but to suggest that people should take seriously the immense importance of what is taking place in Egypt. Graphic by Martin Berman-Gorvine  

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By Barry Rubin

Since last February I have predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would win elections in Egypt. People have thought me very pessimistic. I have warned and warned that this is a disaster for Western interests, Israel, and ultimately the Egyptian people themselves. I have detailed why this was going to happen and how it was going to change the history of the Middle East.  

Now the votes are starting to come in and…it’s much worse than I thought. But my prediction that the Brotherhood and the other Islamists would gain a slight majority seems to have been fulfilled and then some. According to most reports the Brotherhood is scoring at just below 40 percent all by itself.

Why worse? For two reasons:

First, the votes we now have come from the most urban areas of the country. If there are Facebook sophisticates they’re going to be in Cairo and Alexandria. If the moderates do that bad in the big cities, what’s going to happen in the villages up the Nile? If the fascist party came in first in some European countries Social Democratic districts you know you are in trouble.

The Brotherhood came in first in Cairo and Alexandria. Think about that. Of course there are millions of migrants from rural areas in those places but that’s also where the middle class, such as it is, lives.

Second, the moderate parties didn’t even come in second they came in third or close to it. The Salafists—that is people who are even more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood—came in second. That they did that well is a surprise. That they did that well without bumping the Brotherhood down a notch is really shocking.




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