Imagine a soccer game, with one team scoring three goals, all scored by the same player, from the same angle, out of the same mistakes of the other team’s defense players. This is what the elections battle looks like for the revolutionaries in Egypt.
Preliminary results of the presidential elections show a leading vote for the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi, reaching the run offs against Mubarak’s ex PM Ahmed Shafiq. The largest Islamist movement is no longer seen as revolutionary since Mubarak’s ouster, as many viewing its politically-pragmatic tendencies as one of many obstacles facing the revolution, especially after the group’s silence against continued violations by the military junta across the past 16 months.
The Brotherhood’s reluctance to amend crucial legislative reforms after winning 47 percent of the parliament’s seats, as well as its dominance over the formation of the constituent assembly to draft the constitution all contributed to the decline of the popular support the group mobilized in the parliamentary elections.
Shafiq, who was the Minister of Civil Aviation for ten years during Mubarak’s time, was appointed as the prime minister after a cabinet reshuffle conducted by Mubarak during the Jan. 25 revolution. The former Mubarak official left office as revolutionaries protested demanding his ouster after only one month after Mubarak’s ouster
But as dark as the picture appears, three observations of electoral results can give us a bit of hope – hope that the picture could be brighter if the revolution was smarter.
One: While both Morsi and Shafiq won almost 5 million votes each, the Nassirist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, and moderate Islamist and ex Brotherhood member Abdel Moniem Abol Fotoh (both regarded as revolutionaries) managed to mobilize together a sum of 9 million votes.
Sabahi and Abol Fotoh were urged to form one front to represent the revolution with one of them as president and the other as vice, but the ego of each one of them was the reason why the revolution now has no voice in the run-offs. Had they formed the front, one of them would have faced Morsi in the run offs, leaving out the shame of having a remnant of Mubarak regime in the first run offs of presidential elections in Egypt.
Unity and organization were the key problems for the revolutionaries since the March referendum that led to catastrophic constitutional amendments and in the parliament elections, both were the two goals scored against the revolution and now the third was just scored.
Two: It’s obvious that the Brotherhood’s popularity seriously declined. 10 million voters supported the Islamist group in the parliament elections, in four months, the number of voters declined to half. After interviewing residents in the southern cities of Qena and Luxor, voters seemed to me disgruntled about the Brotherhood’s performance in the parliament, seeing no difference between them and Mubrak’s ruling party. Morsi’s attempts to unite the political forces in his side in his encounter against Shafiq are very telling. The Brotherhood lost support and sees itself in danger of facing Shafiq as president, as well as possibilities of dissolving the parliament as many lawsuits are filed in front of the Constitutional Court questioning the parliament’s legitimacy.
Three: The revolution has won! The total votes for Abol Fotoh and Sabahi indicate a huge inclination for the revolutionary idea, if the votes of Morsi are added; it’s a majority vote against the old regime. It is not the fault of the Egyptian people that the revolutionaries were not united, and it is not their fault that the Brotherhood was not wise enough to rally behind one revolutionary candidate instead of going back on their promises not to nominate a president, losing the trust of millions of Egyptian voters who voted for Shafiq instead.
The question today is thus: Can the revolution learn the lesson and win the coming soccer game?