If vote counts continue on their current course, Ahmed Shafiq, 71, will finish in second place in the first round of the Egyptian presidential election with around 24% of the vote, thereby vaunting him into a runoff with the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi.
Shafiq, among the top five candidate vying for the Egyptian presidency, is the most ‘felool’ — the ‘remnants’ associated with the former Mubarak regime. A senior commander in the Egyptian air force dating back to the days of the Sadat era, Shafiq served as commander of Egypt’s Air Force from 1996 to 2002. Thereupon, he served as the minister of civil aviation from 2002 to 2011.
He was Mubarak’s final prime minister as well, having been appointed at the end of January 2011 in response to the Tahrir Square protests against Mubarak’s rule.
As such, he is seen not only as the premier ‘felool’ candidate, but also the favored candidate of the Egyptian army, and the favored candidate of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces that has governed Egypt during its transition since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. He is seen as the stand-in, in many ways, to Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s longtime intelligence chief and Mubarak’s final vice president. Either one, in a runoff against an Islamist, must certainly represent the “deep state” of Egyptian public life. Continue reading Egypt runoff: who is Ahmed Shafiq?
UPDATE 6/24/12: Follow the latest on the Egyptian runoff results here.
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It appears that Mohammed Morsi, 60, the candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party — the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood — has placed first in the first round of Egypt’s May presidential election with around 27% of the vote.
So, who is Morsi? What does his success mean for Egypt? And what are his chances in the runoff? Continue reading Egypt runoff: Who is Mohammed Morsi?
With the presidential election in Egypt looming in just nine days, and with last week’s Algerian parliamentary election resulting in somewhat freer and fairer voting, Fawaz A. Gerges pen a very thoughtful piece in openDemocracy about the marriage of free-market capitalism and Islamism:
Islamist parties are increasingly becoming “service” parties: an acknowledgment that political legitimacy and the likelihood of re-election rests on the ability to deliver jobs, economic growth, and to demonstrate transparency. This factor introduces a huge degree of pragmatism in their policies. The example of Turkey, especially its economic success, has had a major impact on Arab Islamists, many of whom would like to emulate the Turkish model. The Arab Islamists have, in other words, understood the truth of the slogan, “It is the economy, stupid!” The Turkish model, with the religiously observant provincial bourgeoisie as its kingpin, also acts as a reminder that Islam and capitalism are mutually reinforcing and compatible.
It is notable that the Islamists’ economic agenda does not espouse a distinctive “Islamic” economic model. This is unsurprising, however, as an Islamic economic model does not exist. Islamists suffer from a paucity of original ideas on the economy and have not even developed a blueprint to tackle the structural socioeconomic crisis in Arab societies.
Nevertheless, what distinguishes centrist religious-based groups from their leftist and nationalist counterparts is a friendly sensibility toward business activities including wealth accumulation and free-market economics. Islamism is a bourgeois movement consisting mostly of middle-class professionals, businessmen, shopkeepers, petty merchants and traders.
If there is a slogan that best describes Islamists’ economic attitude, it would be: “Islam-is-good-for-business”.