Morsi was the better choice
Mohamed Morsi was the
candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he is unlikely to establish an
Article added on July 3, 2012 added at 19:18 Swiss time
Egypt's presidential election has finished with a
close victory by Mohamed Morsi (*1951). Everything is relative. He was the
better of two rather worrying choices. The election of Ahmed Shafiq would have
meant a return to the authoritarian and corrupt
The election of Mohamed Morsi was the
victory of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the president-elect made
immediately clear that he had no intention to establish an Islamistic state.
Instead, he was wise enough to announce the
appointment of a female vice-president and a Christian vice-president. The
president has been sworn in on June 30, 2012. The VP appointments have not
yet materialized. Furthermore, Mohmed Morsi is still in search of a cabinet.
He is likely to form an inclusive government because he needs allies in his
fight for democracy against the all powerful military council.
Since Mubarak's regime had de
facto banned the Muslim Brotherhood from parliament, from 2000 to 2005, Mohamed Morsi had served as an independent lawmaker in the
Egyptian parliament. During the 2011-revolution, the Muslim
Brotherhood created the Freedom and Justice Party, which chose Mohamed Morsi
first president. After
Khairat Al-Shater had been barred by Egypt's electoral commission as the Muslim Brotherhood's
presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, a man without charisma, stepped in.
In June 2012, he managed a narrow win in the second round of the
presidential election with 51.7% against the old
regime's Ahmed Shafiq with 48.3%, with an electoral participation of
Mohamed Morsi has not a narrow Egyptian world view because he has not
only received a master in engineering from Cairo University, but he has also
received a PhD in engineering from the University of Southern California and
he has taught engineering as assistant professor at California State University in
Northridge, before returning to Egypt to teach at Zagazig University. In
addition, two of Morsi's five children were born in California and, therefore,
are United States citizens by birth.
The election of Mohamed Morsi is far from ideal, but it does not
mark the end of the democratic process in Egypt. It is rather one of many
more democratic steps to come, including the drafting of a new constitution and the
election of a new parliament.
Mohamed Morsi was the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he is
unlikely to establish an Islamistic regime, not only because the secular
military would not allow it, but also because Egypt is an overwhelmingly
moderate country, as I could experience again during my last visit in April
and May 2012.
Mohamed Morsi has made clear that he will respect all international treaties
signed by Egypt, including the peace treaty with Israel, but that he
expected Israel to fully respect the treaties it has signed too.
Already before the election result was known, Mohamed Morsi made clear on
CNN that men and women enjoy equal rights in Egypt. Regarding the Copts,
the Egyptian Christian minority, which accounts for roughly 10% of the
overall population, he asserted the same. As mentioned above, as a sign of
proof for his good will, Mohamed Morsi said that he would name a Copt as
well as a woman to the position of vice-president. It remains to be seen
which powers he will confer to them, but is a gesture in the right direction.
The new president will face a lot of obstacles.
Many Mubarak loyalists still run the Egyptian bureaucracy. Above all, the
Egyptian army, a state within the state, remains the key to power, with the
military council remaining the supreme force in Egypt.
A new constitution of Egypt still needs to be drafted. Therefore, the powers
of the president are not yet defined. Furthermore, the Egyptian parliament
has been dissolved by the Constitutional Court on the grounds of the Muslim
Brotherhood and other candidates had run as independents and subsequently
occupied parliamentary seats especially reserved for independent candidates.
The military council enforced the court ruling. New parliamentary elections will have to
take place, which will redefine the balance of power. This will not be the
end of democracy, but on the contrary a chance for the moderate forces to
reassert themselves. Whether they are wise enough to bundle their forces
against the old regime as well as the religious forces remains to be seen.
As long as the elected regimes remain democratic and new elections will be
held every four years, even a win by the Muslim Brotherhood would not be a
catastrophe. Democracy means that the majority rules, while respecting the
minority, which in return has to accept the voters verdict. You cannot
occupy Tahrir Square all the time just because you are not happy with the
electoral outcome or a governmental decision.
Among the major challenges the new president faces is the economic one.
Some 40% of all Egyptians, mainly the illiterate ones, live
below the poverty line.
40% of all Egyptians are illiterate. They largely voted for the religious
The Egyptian population is very young. Education will be the key to create a
stable, democratic and prosperous society. It is equally important to
dismantle the rest of the Mubarak regime in the administration, the courts
and the military. Last but not least, the army can no longer remain a state
within the state. The military can no longer control a large part of the
economy; 10% up to 40% of the economy; not only because this is a danger to
democracy, but also because it is contrary to a market economy. Monopolies
and oligopolies have to be dismantled. Liberal reforms are vital. Will the
Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi will be this visionary president?
Time will tell.
You can help Egypt and its transformation process.
The most pleasant way to support the Egyptian economy is to travel there. In Aswan
I can suggest the
Mövenpick Resort Aswan as well as the legendary
Old Cataract Aswan hotel,
in Luxor the historic
Winter Palace hotel as well as the
Jolie Ville resort, in Cairo
Cairo Semiramis and the
Sofitel Cairo El Gezirah, with its excellent restaurants, location and
Cairo Media-City the
Mövenpick Hotel, in Giza the Mövenpick
Pyramids as well as the fabulous
Mena House. Last but not least, useful for the traveler are
Egyptian art books from Amazon.com,
Enjoy your trip to Egypt!