Egypt elections: Muslim Brotherhood in a fight for survival
The Muslim Brotherhood has a lot to lose if the group's candidate fails to win Egypt's presidential elections runoff. Turnout appears light on the second day of voting.
The Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt is fighting for political survival against the country's military rulers, resisting the military's attempts to dissolve the parliament and urging voters to back the Brotherhood's man for president on this second day of voting.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Relatively few Egyptians appear to be turning out to cast ballots as the Brotherhood’s presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, faces former military man Ahmed Shafiq in a race that has high stakes for the Brotherhood. If Mr. Shafiq wins, many in the once-banned organization fear a return to the days of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, when Brotherhood members were often arrested in their homes and detained for years.
The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) said in a statement Saturday evening that the military has no right to order the dissolution of parliament, and such a decision can only come through a national referendum. The statement is a challenge to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military generals ruling Egypt, who said a Thursday court ruling means the parliament is null. The generals have sent soldiers to the assembly building who are refusing to allow members of parliament to enter.
“The constant threat to dissolve a parliament elected by the will of 30 million Egyptians confirms the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ desire for a total power grab against the popular will,” said the FJP in a statement that called the ruling a “blatant attack on the great Egyptian revolution.”
The SCAF’s decision is based on a ruling by Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court Thursday that the law governing the parliamentary elections, which ended in January, erred when it allowed parties to contest the seats reserved for independents.
Coming after months of threats of parliament dissolution by the SCAF-appointed government to the Brotherhood, and from a court full of Mubarak-appointed justices, the ruling is seen by many in Egypt as politicized. It has increased the power of the military, and hurt the Brotherhood, whose party held about half the seats in parliament and had used that position to secure a solid hold on a committee elected to write Egypt’s new constitution. The military has now indicated it will appoint a new constitutional committee.
With both of these footholds gone, the Brotherhood is hoping for an electoral victory by Dr. Morsi.