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Previewing Egypt's 2012 Presidential Elections

Previewing Egypt's 2012 Presidential Elections

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Brian Katulis takes a look at the issues and candidates in Egypt's election as voters head to the polls this week.
Brian Katulis takes a look at the issues and candidates in Egypt's election as voters head to the polls this week.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Center for American Progress on May 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1Center or American Progress | Previewing Egypt’s 2012 Presidential Elections
Previewing Egypts 2012Presidential Elections
Another Step Forward in the Countrys Political Transition—but Not the Last
Brian Katulis May 2012
Egypians head o he polls his week in he rs round o hisoric presidenial elecionsha should mark he beginning o he end o ormal miliary rule in he counry. Tese arehe rs compeiive presidenial elecions Egyp has ever had. Tey signal an imporansep orward in he opaque poliical ransiion managed by he Supreme Council o he Armed Forces—which consiss o a body o senior ocers in he Egypian miliary—since ormer Presiden Hosni Mubarak sepped down in February 2011.Mos analyss esimae ha no single candidae will receive more han 50 percen o he voe his week, which would require a runo beween he op wo candidaes in mid- June. I he elecion proceeds according o curren plans, he miliary rulers will ormally hand over power o a civilian governmen by he end o June.Even aer a new presiden is sworn ino oce, however, Egyp’s poliical ransiion willremain incomplee. Egyp aces unresolved debaes over plans or a new consiuion andconinued quesions abou wheher Egyp’s miliary rulers will give up power over heir budge. Te miliary’s conrol o key secors o he economy will make Egyp’s poliicalransiion incomplee even aer a new presiden is sworn ino oce and negoiaions overpower will hus coninue o unold or years o come.In response o hese changes in Egyp, he Unied Saes should begin o overhaul he way i has managed bilaeral ies or decades. I should review he curren package o miliary and economic assisance and make a shi rom he curren srong emphasison miliary cooperaion oward a more balanced approach ha encourages Egyp’seconomic inegraion wih he neighboring region and ha uses diplomacy o promoeEgyp’s role as a responsible leader in he Middle Eas. Egyps major ransormaions—and he increased imporance o public opinion in Egypian poliics—will require heUnied Saes o change he way i has done business wih Egyp or he pas 30 years.
2Center or American Progress | Previewing Egypt’s 2012 Presidential Elections
Background on the presidential elections
Egyp’s presidenial elecions are based on a wo-round elecoral sysem o direc publicsecre ballo in which he winner mus receive an absolue majoriy o he voes. I nosingle candidae receives more han 50 percen o he voe in he rs round on May 23and May 24, hen he op wo voe-geters will compee in a runo scheduled or June16 and June 17.
Te Supreme Presidenial Elecions Commission, comprising senior judicial ocials, adminisers he runo elecions.Tireen candidaes are conesing he elecions. Te ve ha have received he mosatenion hus ar are proled in he ex box below. No single candidae is expeced ocapure he more han 50 percen o he voe ha is necessary o avoid a runo.
Amr Moussa
A lielong diplomat and ormer member o theMubarak regime, Moussa is a popular gure known orhis outspoken rhetoric against Israel and the UnitedStates during his tenure as Egypt’s oreign minister(1991–2001) and as secretary general o the ArabLeague (2001–2011). His independent candidacyrests on a political platorm that consists o a centriststrategy to unite all political parties and institutions to advanceEgypt’s national interests.
I elected, Moussa has said he would onlystay in oce or one term or as long as is necessary to transition to aparliamentary system.
Moussa’s greatest campaign challenge is preventing himsel rom beinglabeled as a remnant o the Mubarak era.
He has campaigned as analternative to Islamist candidates by supporting current constitutionalarrangements regarding religion and the state, while alleging sel-servingbehavior by the Muslim Brotherhood during Mubarak’s rule.
Moussa has stated that the Camp David accords between Israel andEgypt are “dead” due to both parties’ ailure to ulll articles relatingto the Palestinians, but that Egypt would honor the peace treaty withIsrael. He has also endorsed the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative proposed bySaudi Arabia.
Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
This expelled ormer deputy chie o the MuslimBrotherhood is a polarizing gure whose independentcandidacy is opposed by Brotherhood leadership, whoreportedly are threatening expulsion or any memberwho supports Fotouh.
Currently a prominent Islamistactivist and secretary general o the Arab Medical Union,
 Fotouh has a way o attracting liberals and Islamistsyoung and old alike, through his platorm o populist economics and “peoplerst” politics.
Fotouh has said he would implement Sharia as a ormal legalcode, rather than seeing it as a symbolic “inspiration” or laws.
Fotouh whetted his appetite or activism as a medical student in the1970s while attending Cairo University, at which time he was introducedto the Muslim Brotherhood (and would subsequently be jailed threetimes in the course o his membership).
From 1987 to 2009 he servedon the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Council, its top decision mak-ing body. Because the Muslim Brotherhood originally promised not toput orth a candidate, Fotouh’s membership was suspended when heannounced his candidacy in May 2011.
His attempts to appeal to many o Egypt’s diverse constituencies have ledopponents like Amr Moussa to accuse Fotouh o doubletalk—saying onething to a Sala audience and another to a liberal one. Fotouh has gainedthe support o the leaders o the main Sala Nour Party, though it remainsunclear how the Sala rank and le will vote.
Egypt presidential candidate profiles
Continued on next page
3Center or American Progress | Previewing Egypt’s 2012 Presidential Elections
Ahmed Shafiq
Shaq’s brie tenure as Egypt’s prime minister romJanuary 2011 to March 2011, his military experience asEgyptian Air Force commander, and his time as a diplo-mat and politician under Mubarak have caused specula-tion as to whether Shaq’s campaign will resonate withrevolution-minded voters, who are not eager to returnMubarak regime ocials to power and may see Shaqas the militarys candidate. His campaign platorm rests on his promise torestore law and order within 30 days o being elected.
Shaq has spent his entire adult lie in the military and in aviation, evenserving as a ghter pilot in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, and he holdsadvanced degrees in military strategy and sciences.He has been accused o being out o touch with the Egyptian public, as hisexperience with the public was largely only as civil aviation minister rom2002–2011. During and immediately ater the uprisings, public perceptiono Shaq was largely negative, which caused him to retreat rom the publiceye until announcing his candidacy in December 2011.
 Similar to Amr Moussa, Shaq is attempting to position himsel asan alternative to Islamist candidates. He has intimated that he wouldappoint a Christian woman as vice president i elected, in order todeend women’s rights.
Hamdeen Sabbahi
Letist independent presidential candidate Sabbahi isknown or his nationalist ideology in the mold o Egypt’smid-20th century President Gamal Abdel Nasser and hiscriticisms o Israel and the United States, on which hehas based his campaign.
Sabbahi studied mass communication during the mid-1970s at Cairo University, during which time he was jailed and prohibitedrom working in Egyptian media or his public conrontation o EgyptianPresident Anwar El Sadat over rising ood prices.
Though he would be jailed several times throughout his political career, Sabbahi has remainedundeterred. He went on to ound and chair the Arab Nasserist Karama(“Dignity”) Party in 1996 and many other infuential political and social justice organizations.
In 2000 and again in 2005, Sabbahi was elected to the lower house o thePeople’s Assembly, and his role in prodemocracy organizations helpedbuild opposition to Mubarak’s policies in the mid- to late-2000s. Hisworking-class background and widely known support o anti-Mubarak protesters in 2011 have bolstered his campaign. Unlike other major candi-dates, Sabbahi is neither an Islamist nor a ormer Mubarak regime ocial.Sabbahi has vowed to “tear up” Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel but quali-ed that he would honor international agreements that had not beenamended by the Egyptian parliament or canceled by public reerendum.He has also proposed an unlikely alliance between Egypt, Iran, and Turkey,while saying Egypt should sever relations with Saudi Arabia i it does nottreat Egyptian expatriates better.
Muhammad Mursi
Leader o the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and JusticeParty, Mursi entered the presidential race ater the FJP’srst candidate, Khairat al-Shater, was disqualied by thepresidential election commission.
Trained in engineering in the United States, Mursi joinedthe Brotherhood in 1979 and became a member o the Brotherhood’sGuidance Council in 1995. Mursi served in the lower house o Egypt’s par-liament or 10 years, rom 1995 to 2005, and was the ocial spokesman orthe Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc rom 2000 to 2005. Since 2005 Mursihas played a key role in drating the Brotherhood’s political program andbeen its leading spokesman. In April 2011 Mursi resigned his position inthe Guidance Council to become president o the Brotherhood’s Freedomand Justice Party.
Mursi has said he would revise the peace treaty with Israel to create aPalestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and have Israel recognizethe “right o return” o Palestinian reugees. He has also highlighted thepossibility o Chinese investment in Egypt as a means o stimulatingeconomic growth.

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Jon Vincent Deacon added this note
Amazing, while youngsters are being ripped to pieces mentally and physically in Afghanistan and Iraq to end tyranny, civil rights violations, and promote free elections in a wide awake nightmare that Bush started for the pleasure of his oil buddies, at home here torture is embraced and huge corporate plutocrats like Walmart are trying to limited freedoms and rights to vote. Take back your country!

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