Mursi steps up to the plate of Egypt's new democratic dawn

Published June 24th, 2012 - 08:45 GMT
Mohammed Mursi ushers in a democratic era for Egypt
Mohammed Mursi ushers in a democratic era for Egypt
He might not be celebrating with a bottle of champagne and a dozen cigars (though around the Arab world, bizarrely some have been choosing to display their revelry with a 'cheers' and a beer-toast) but the former prisoner and Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Mursi, is victorious in the heart of the Arab Spring.
As promised, Mursi has now resigned from the Brotherhood in order, as he put it, to maintain impartiality. The wait was a long one and as Farouk Sultan, chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court, rambled through an hour's speech, we thought we might never know the outcome. The Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) were keen to clear their name as Sultan reeled off dozens of examples where they had doubled efforts to ensure the elections were run fairly. The Twitterati were scathing, calling Sultan part of the old guard and the reason why regime change was so necessary in Egypt. But these revolution fans were not disappointed as finally Mursi's name was announced as winner. 
It's been a long time coming and throughout the last few days in particular, Egypt looked like it would turn back the clock with a military coup and no sign that a burgeoning democracy was in force. There was even talk that no matter what the outcome, SCAF would ensure Shafiq was the president. For many Shafiq was too tainted by Mubarak to be attached to anything called new or 'changed' Egypt.
Now Mursi faces the challenge of mass unemployment, a constitution in dire need of modernizing and the fears of what an Islamist leader will do to a society ranging from Salafis to Coptic Christians and everything in between. Egypt expects its prayers will be answered and for some, at least, the mere fact that a Muslim Brotherhood candidate and opposition leader could win is proof that they have been already heeded.

After twenty or more years underground, the Muslim Brotherhood are finally out in the open (though technically still ducking absolute responsibility) and winning the election of the century.

Mohammed Mursi was a frontrunner from the beginning and despite fears of an Islamist takeover, many Egyptians will see his victory as a triumph for the revolution.

When he first joined the election race, Mursi was called the Brotherhood ‘spare wheel’ after their first choice of candidate was disqualified. But the 60 year old engineer has gone on to prove his doubters wrong.

Targeting devout Muslims and Salafists, Mursi won almost 70% of the vote in the first round of elections. Now he has come up trumps with 51.73 percent of the entire vote. Throughout his campaign, he has promised to implement Shariah Law, causing Copts and moderates to panic about the potential for extremism in the North African nation.

But Egyptians are clearly in the mood for a little more religion with their politics and are sick of being one of the only Arab countries to negotiate with Israel. The Brotherhood said early on that the key Israeli peace treaty would most certainly be up for a re-think.

So with the victory under his belt, maybe Mursi will become more famous than his (sort of) namesake, Barcelona football extraordinaire, Lionel Messi. 


Please share your thoughts and reactions to the Mursi win for Egypt and democracy. Are you celebrating with the Muslim Brotherhood, or weeping for Shafiq tonight?

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