Will Egypt’s Presidential Election Bring More Unrest?
By David on May 15, 2014
On May 26 and 27, Egypt will hold its second presidential election in two years. In 2012, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi was elected president. This year, the man responsible for deposing Mr. Morsi, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, is primed to take his predecessor’s spot.
While protests are expected in the lead-up to the election, analysis of public web data using Recorded Future suggests civil unrest will likely heighten after the election is held.
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Recent political speech has taken on an aggressive tone. For example, in a recent television interview, Mr. al-Sisi said the Muslim Brotherhood would cease to exist if he were elected president. This comment comes in the wake of a month-long social campaign mocking the presidential contender by calling for people to “vote for the pimp.” Those rallying behind such calls include those opposed to military rule as well as backers of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Despite the mass arrests and subsequent orders of mass executions for Muslim Brothers in Egypt, sympathy for the organization runs high. This includes support from the the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Dr. Yousef Qaradawi, who has issued a fatwa (a religious ruling) declaring it haram (prohibited) to participate in the upcoming elections. This fatwa, with Qaradawi’s accusation that al-Sisi unfairly deposed Morsi, places a legal basis around political support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
While perennial candidate Hamdeen Sabahi is also contesting the election, al-Sisi’s victory is all but a foregone conclusion. While his comments about a Muslim Brotherhood-less Egypt may be far-fetched, they underscore a zero-tolerance policy that he is likely to exert (and has) against those protesting his forthcoming regime.
And such civil unrest is likely to escalate quickly in the aftermath of the election. With only two candidates, a runoff is unlikely. That being the case, the winner can be expected to be announced no later than the day after the election (May 28), as was the case with Morsi’s victory over Ahmed Shafiq in 2012.
While protests are highly likely to commemorate the second year anniversary of Morsi’s electoral win on June 18 and his ascendancy to the presidency on June 30, demonstrators aren’t likely to wait to take to the streets until then if al-Sisi wins the elections in late May.