COMMENT: With the elimination of the Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat el-Shater and the Salafist candidate, as well as Mubarak’s former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman from the Egyptian presidential race, many observers are puzzled and some are predicting chaos and/or violence.
Here, too, there remain more questions than answers. However much of the political order of battle in Egypt can be clearly discerned and it favors the Islamists–who (between Salafists and Muslim Brotherhood) control 70% of parliament.
Do not fail to note that the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the background of the two top remaining Islamist candidates for the presidency. Mohamed el-Mursi is a member of the Brotherhood’s leadership and its backup nominee, while Abdel Moneim Aboul Foutouh, a “former” (note the quotes) Brotherhood member was ostensibly expelled from the party for going against directives of its leadership. His sin was to run for president when the Brotherhood had announced it would not field a candidate.
It subsequently fielded two.
The possibility that Foutouh may be a “sheep-dipped” Brotherhood operative is not one to be readily dismissed. The Brotherhood is highly sophisticated in their use of cynical power politics and should not be underestimated.
Bottom line: the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidates lead the Islamist field, although the high-profile headlines and discussion would incline the superficial to think otherwise. If the Salafis manifest violence in any way, it will continue to make the Brotherhood look “moderate.”
EXCERPT: The Egyptian election authorities eliminated three of the country’s leading presidential candidates in one broad stroke on Saturday night in an unexpected decision that once again threw into disarray the contest to shape the future of Egypt after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
The High Election Commission struck down 10 candidates in all, including the three who have generated the most passion in this polarized nation: Khairat el-Shater, the leading strategist of the Muslim Brotherhood; Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, an ultraconservative Islamist; and Omar Suleiman, Mr. Mubarak’s former vice president and intelligence chief.
A little more than a month before the vote begins, the ruling raised new doubts about the credibility of the election, which is supposed to inaugurate a new democracy after decades of authoritarian rule. It capped a year of opaque decisions behind closed doors, shifting ground rules and timetables, conspiracy theories about who holds true power, turbulence in the streets and growing political polarization during the military-led transition after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
And it comes at a time when the stakes of the presidential race have risen higher than ever: the Islamist majority in Parliament has clashed with the liberal minority over the writing of a constitution and with the military over the control of the government. Some warned it could set off new street protests.
At the same time, the commission, composed of five senior judges appointed by Mr. Mubarak, appeared to prove its independence, shutting down the candidate most linked to the Mubarak government and defying an angry mob of Islamists outside its door. It disqualified each of the candidates on narrow, technical grounds. . . .
. . . With those figures gone, the battle lines remain the same but the fight looks less ferocious. Among the remaining Islamists are Mohamed el-Mursi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party and its backup nominee, and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a more liberal former leader of the Brotherhood who was expelled last year for bucking the political decisions of its executive committee.
Among the former government officials, the remaining front-runner is Amr Moussa, a popular former diplomat who was sidelined within the government as a potential rival to Mr. Mubarak. . . .