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Egypt: A battle for alliances! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Egyptian presidential election results are precisely what we predicted here 4 days ago.

The election results have failed to resolve the situation, and there will be a run-off vote, whilst voter turnout stood at around 43 percent. The competition was between Dr. Mursi and General Shafiq, whilst other candidates vied for third place.

Let us look at a breakdown of the results:

Mohamed Mursi, the presidential candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party – the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood organization – won 5,553,087 votes, approximately 25.3 percent of the vote, whilst former Egyptian Prime Minister General Ahmed Shafiq won 5,210,978 votes, approximately 23.7 percent of the overall vote. Therefore, the presidential run-off will take place between these two candidates in around three weeks’ time in order to determine who will emerge as Egypt’s next president. This will see power finally being transferred from the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces [SCAF] to a civil and democratically elected administration.

The question that must be asked here is: what are the rules of the game? How will each political party take part in this political battle? How will each party seek to secure victory?

The primary element in answering these questions is each candidate’s capability of securing political alliances with the voting blocs who have proven their presence and effectiveness during the previous election battle. The three defeated presidential election candidates – Hamdeen Sabahy, Dr. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and Amr Musa – took around 12 million votes between them, representing around 50 percent of the votes cast at the presidential elections – and these votes will be up for grabs at the forthcoming run-off vote. From here, Dr. Mursi and General Shafiq will work to win part or all of these votes, and this will be the most important deciding factor regarding the outcome of the presidential run-off. This battle was begun by the Muslim Brotherhood as soon as the initial results were announced and revealed to the public, with the Brotherhood issuing statements regarding the necessity of “nationalist” political forces standing with them in order to prevent a counter-revolutionary candidate from reaching power.

However Muslim Brotherhood opponents are asking why they are only now bringing up the revolution, after they ignored this following the fall of the previous regime, establishing a political deal with the Egyptian army that – in their eyes – came at the expense of the Egyptian revolution. Whilst General Shafiq is playing the game calmly, for he is aware that he is now the champion of the civil state project that opposes the Muslim Brotherhood’s state project, and therefore enjoys the support of the Copts, the military, and supporters of the civil state, as well as those who believe that the revolution has ultimately harmed – rather than benefited – Egypt’s economy and stability. From here, we can say that the manner in which each candidate manages the political battle to win alliances and mobilize support – not to mention their handling of campaign finances – will be the deciding factor of this election battle. This will decide whether the Muslim Brotherhood are able to benefit from their first real opportunity to win power in Egypt or not. This is a very difficult battle, and it will have a huge impact on the future of Egypt and the region.