Unchecked blunders by the Muslim Brotherhood could crown Ahmed Shafiq as Egypt’s head of state, according to Egyptian media star and talk show host Imad Adeeb.
Shafiq, ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, faces Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi, the other finalist in the June 16-17 presidential runoff vote.
Adeeb, writing today for the leading Saudi daily Asharq Alawsat, says, “Should Ahmed Shafiq win the presidential race, it would be a consequence of the other side’s faults.”
Two days ago, persons unknown attacked Shafiq’s campaign HQ in the Dokki area of Giza, where they tore campaign flyers and leaflets and smashed computers. The attack spurred a public outcry, chiefly among Shafiq’s followers.
Egyptian citizens are yearning for stability based on law and order and better living conditions. Far from slogans, electoral platforms and electioneering rhetoric, most Egyptians long for a strong, willing and able head of state to run a country in turmoil.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s blunders since mismanaging the January 23 opening session of the People’s Assembly “probably explain the general public’s loss of faith in its ability, and the ability of its key figures, to run the affairs of state.”
Nothing else explains “why the Muslim Brotherhood garnered 10 million votes in the parliamentary elections and not more than 5.7 million ballots for Mursi four months later in the first round of the presidential polls.”
This confirms “a loss of faith in the Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Justice and Freedom Party.”
The more the Muslim Brotherhood resorts to parliament and its partisans to shut out Gen. Shafiq, the stronger his political backing. Seeking to “exclude or isolate” competitors provokes Egyptian voters. “Fear of the Muslim Brotherhood becoming heavy-handed” amplifies their defiance and obstinacy.
The only hope for the Muslim Brotherhood winning the presidency is an ultra-quick shift “from exclusion tactics to fair play.”
Tariq Alhomayed, Asharq Alawsat’s editor-in-chief, tells Egyptian voters their choice in about a fortnight is not so much between Mursi and Shafiq as between a religious or civil state.
His line of reasoning:
The Muslim Brotherhood’s “General Guide” -- or supreme leader Mohamed Badie – chose Mursi to run as an “alternate” candidate after the electoral vetting commission barred the group’s charismatic strongman Khairat el-Shater from standing. A Mursi victory would be a case of the Brotherhood supreme leader ruling Egypt “from behind the hijab.”
In a way, Egypt under Mursi would be following in the footsteps of:
-- Iran, where the president of the republic is subordinate to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
-- Hamas, whose elected head is Ismail Haniyeh and actual leader is Khaled Meshaal, and
-- Iraq, where elections are held from time to time but the final word invariably stays with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.