Islamist-Military Tug of War Dominates New Egypt
Students shout slogans in front of Cairo University during a rally protesting military rule on February 11, 2012, the first anniversary of the resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
April 26, 2012
| Africa, Middle East and North Africa
The recent disqualification of Egyptian presidential candidates has set the stage for an Islamist candidate to win the election, solidifying Islamist control over both the legislative and executive branches. Such a scenario will set up a confrontation between the military and Islamists unless they can agree to a deal where Islamists rule but grant the military some autonomy and influence.
Egypt has finalized the list of presidential candidates to appear on the ballot in the elections, to begin May 23, and has positioned the Islamists to gain the presidency. The electoral commission disqualified many candidates but yesterday reversed its previous ruling and will allow former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to run. The strongest contenders appear to be liberal Amr Moussa, Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Mursi, and Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, a moderate Islamist who is a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and is now running as an independent. The 72 percent victory by Islamists in the January 2012 parliamentary elections and the elimination of other major contenders suggests an Islamist, probably the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, will win the May 23 presidential vote unless the Islamist base splinters. To avoid this possibility, a panel of Islamist fundamentalist clerics yesterday endorsed Mursi.

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