Monday, April 16, 2012

Egyptian Presidential Election Postponed?

By Barry Rubin

It is being reported--though I haven't fully confirmed it--that the totally chaotic Egyptian presidential election will be postponed until after a constitution is written. That means the military will hold onto power for what? several months? most of this year? who knows.  Having made one tough decision--to run a presdiential candidate--the Brotherhood must now decide whether it wants to play it safe, given its control of parliament, and make the president weak or go for a strong president, believing that its own candidate would win and could be trusted to follow orders. 

And incidentally it isn't clear who precisely is running. The Salafist candidate, who loathes America, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail was disqualified after being challenged by a claim that his mother is an American citizen and so was Brotherhood candidate Khairat el-Shater.  The Brotherhood has a backup candidate, Muhammad al-Mursi, ready to go if necessary. 

The Mubarak regime's intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, has been also barred as have been all former officials though somehow there's a loophole allowing the former foreign minister to run! Oh well. The Mubarak regime barred the Brotherhood as a separate party and now the Brotherhood has helped block Mubarak supporters from running. Such is Egyptian democracy.  

Any way, this confusion about the timing of elections, the candidates, and the Constitution are additional steps in the growing chaos and instability that is plaguing Egypt.

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