Egypt's January 25 Revolution last year was supposed to dispel Hosni Mubarak's false dichotomy: the choice, he often warned, was between his regime and the Muslim Brotherhood. Sixteen months after Mubarak relinquished power, that is still the choice Egyptians will make when voting for his successor.
Last week, Egyptians voted in the freest and fairest presidential election in the history of the Arab world. The process was new, but the interests of the voters were not. Of the two candidates that received the most votes, those who will go head to head in a June 16–17 run-off, one hails from the country’s most established Islamist opposition organization—and post-Mubarak Egypt’s most powerful political group—and the other from the ancien régime of patronage networks and military dominance struggling to maintain its position in a new Egypt.
Mohamed Morsi, chief of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), has promised that Egypt will be ruled by sharia, Islamic law. Ahmed Shafik, a former air-force commander and the last prime minister under Mubarak—who allegedly referred to Shafik as his “third son”—campaigned on restoring law and order and countering the rise of Egypt’s Islamists. On Monday, the Presidential Election Commission (PEC) announced these two candidates, of thirteen in the race, garnered just under half the votes, with Morsi coming out slightly more than a percentage point ahead.
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