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EGYPT 23-24 May 2012 Presidential elections under the world’s scrutiny
Some 900 Egyptians put their names forward to run in one of the most watched elections in the world — the first presidential pol

May 23, 2012 - NULL

EGYPT 23-24 May 2012 Presidential elections under the world's scrutiny
Some 900 Egyptians put their names forward to run in one of the most watched elections in the world -- the first presidential poll since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. The election result will determine how secular, how Islamist or how military-controlled the government of post-revolutionary Egypt will be. Despite the Arab Spring uprising, political authority still resides with the generals. That might not change.

Some four of the 900 reported by the BBC to have put forward their names are considered viable candidates: Amr Moussa, a secularist and

EGYPT 23-24 May 2012 Presidential elections under the world's scrutiny
Some 900 Egyptians put their names forward to run in one of the most watched elections in the world -- the first presidential poll since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. The election result will determine how secular, how Islamist or how military-controlled the government of post-revolutionary Egypt will be. Despite the Arab Spring uprising, political authority still resides with the generals. That might not change.

Some four of the 900 reported by the BBC to have put forward their names are considered viable candidates: Amr Moussa, a secularist and the former Arab League chief; Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a Salafi (ultraconservative) Muslim sheikh who blends hardline Islamism with revolutionary zeal; Khairat al-Shater of the long-banned and now legal Moslem Brotherhood; and Omar Suleiman, Mubarak's intelligence chief, who is likely to enjoy the support of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Most observers see Amr Moussa and one or other of the two main Muslim candidates facing off in the Jun 16-17 run-off election. To liberals, leftists and others worried by the rise of Islamist influence in the post-Mubarak Egypt, a win for either Islamist would be a worry. A win by the Salafi sheikh would cause the biggest waves. He is committed to a tighter application of Islamic law in the country of 80 million. Tourism, a mainstay for the economy, would be severely curtailed by any ban on alcohol. Islamist parties already dominate the parliament, and the Moslem Brotherhood has a majority block in both houses.

It remains to be seen if SCAF will hand over control to any winning candidate unwilling to protects the generals' economic interests.

Whoever wins faces a daunting task in restoring an economy battered by the uprising and continuing turmoil. According to The Nation, Egypt is teetering on the edge of an economic crisis, and the country faces the pressing challenge of financing a large budget deficit as rapidly dwindling foreign currency reserves threaten to crack apart an already fragile situation. (WRITTEN APR 2012)

RELATED READING:

Idiot's guide to Egypt's presidential elections 2012 (Egypt.com)
http://news.egypt.com/english/permalink/91070.html

Egypt elections: On a mission to rebuild the country (BBC 26 Mar 2012)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17492734

In Egyptian Hard-Liner's Surge, New Worries for the Muslim Brotherhood (NYT 1 Apr 2012)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/02/world/middleeast/attacking-the-west-islamist-gains-in-egypt-presidential-bid.html?pagewanted=1&;nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120402

Muslim Brotherhood bid for presidency raises the stakes in Egyptian elections (Guardian 2 Apr 2012)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/02/muslim-brotherhood-egypt-presidential-elections

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Date written/update: 2012-05-23