Today Egyptians are casting ballots in a historic presidential election to vote for the next leader in Egypt. This is the first presidential election since Mubarak was ousted last year. From The New York Times:
“Rise up, Egyptians,” proclaimed a full-page headline in the largest independent daily newspaper, Al Masry Al Youm. “Egypt of the revolution’ chooses today the first elected president for the ‘Second Republic.’ ”
Four candidates have emerged. They include Mubarak’s former foreign minister, Amr Moussa, a former Muslim Brotherhood official named Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, and the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote in the first round of voting, the top two candidates face a run-off in mid-June.
For an in-depth discussion on this historic election, AAM sits down with David Schenker, Director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
AAM: We know the elections are coming up on the 23rd and 24th of May. What happens next and what should we be looking for?
DAVID SCHENKER: I think what we have to see is who gets first past the post – who are the top two candidates. I think that the military is hoping that at least one of those is a guy named Amr Moussa. This is going to be their candidate. They see him as the best of a bad bunch. I think that liberals in the country – the ones who actually ran the revolution but are now largely shut out of the political process – are very concerned that there will be a political monopoly going forward. That, in fact, Islamists will sweep and not only control 75% of the parliament but also control the executive and then start legislating a really oppressive social agenda.
But even more immediate than that is the economy in the country which is reaching a crisis point. The standard figure used to be 40% of the people in Egypt make less than $2 dollars a day. Now a year after the revolution, when expectations were so high that the people’s economic situations would improve, you probably have up to 50% of the people in Egypt making less than $2 dollars a day. Their reserves are down from $36 billion dollars at the time of the revolution to $14 billion dollars. Read more »