The runoff elections are around the corner and many Egyptians find themselves in a dilemma. Many do not want to vote for Mohamed Morsy, an Islamist, nor for Ahmed Shafik, a remnant figure of the Mubarak regime.
Many are seriously considering boycotting the elections as a symbolic act of protest. This is an election, where we pick the better of two evils. But, many are defiant about having to choose one candidate over the other. I can understand their perspective: Shafik brings Mubarak’s authoritarian regime to the table, while Morsy brings the Muslim Brotherhood interpretation of Islam to the table. Dilemma!
Boycotting will not be effective, unless millions participate. So far, I have only encountered people who say they will not vote, but are not engaged in any sort of boycotting campaign. Therefore, the boycotting stance of many in the runoff election will turn out to be meaningless, as either Shafik or Morsy will end up winning. Unless you can mobilize millions to boycott, it is time to face reality and vote.
We have two bad options to choose from. Political reality in Egypt dictates that the Mubarak bureaucracy still exists and will remain, even after the elections, regardless of outcome. Many are willing to vote for Morsy over Shafik, as they are hungry for change and think Morsy will weaken the Mubarak bureaucratic system. I disagree.
Morsy will not be able to replace the officers in the Ministry of Interior nor revamp the military establishment, instead he will depend on them for security. Morsy will also have to depend on the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and again the military to revive the Egyptian economy by reaching out to the international community. Egypt has established institutions and it will take time to reform and pump new blood into them. Therefore, Morsy is not the candidate who will eliminate Mubarak’s deep state bureaucracy.
Many are willing to vote for Morsy over Shafik, as they think Morsy will stand up against the military’s core interest in the Constitution. I disagree. Morsy represents the Muslim Brotherhood, a very patient organization that has waited over 80 years to be in its current political situation. The Brotherhood will not risk immediate confrontation with the military, if in power, and wait until they have gained full control over the country and all major institutions.
These elections are not about change and moving Egypt forward, but rather about protecting Egypt’s identity in the Constitution and not moving backward. We also cannot afford to replace Mubarak with a replica that has a religious orientation, as it is doomed to fail.
If you can name one successful country with a regime that has implemented a religous-political agenda, go ahead vote for the Muslim Brotherhood. Shafik represents a secular political agenda, which has succeeded in many parts of the world. Again, both candidates are bad, but if we do not want to move backward, the choice becomes crystal clear.
Adel El-Adawy is editor and creator of the Egyptian Student Abroad blog.Egyptian politics is in his blood as his grandfather served as senior foreign policy advisor to former president to Anwar Sadat and his father is Egyptian Ambassador to Liberia. A candidate for a Masters in Political Science at the American University in Washington, DC, Mr. El-Adawy is currently a research assistant at the Midde East Institute in Washington.
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