Egypt: Revolutionary spirit all but dead ahead of prez polls

Only a few bedraggled demonstrators turned out to protest the latest turn in Egypt’s turbulent journey at Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Last Updated: Jun 16, 2012, 21:20 PM IST

Washington: As Egyptians prepare to vote in the country’s first ever presidential elections post the Mubarak era, the revolutionary spirit seems to be missing amongst its citizens, following a Supreme Constitutional Court that ordered the dissolution of Egypt’s Parliament.

Only a few bedraggled demonstrators turned out to protest the latest turn in Egypt’s turbulent journey at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, in contrast to the spirit and optimism of the 2011 revolution, which made it possible for Egyptians to choose their own president for the first time in history.

“The revolution is dead,” the Washington Post quoted Omnia Nabil, who held an Egyptian flag among protesters at the Tahrir square, as saying.
“I will vote for the devil before I vote for the Muslim Brotherhood,” she added.

The final-round choice that Egyptians now face is between the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, a conservative Islamist, and Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force commander, and ousted president Hosni Mubarak`s last prime minister.

A statement by the Brotherhood party warned that the gains of last year’s revolution could be “wiped out” by the Supreme Court rulings, which it sees as aimed at blocking its political ascent, and also that Egypt appeared to be headed into “very difficult days that might be more dangerous than the last days of Mubarak’s rule.”

Although, Mohamed Abu Hamed Shaheen, a revolutionary turned politician, claimed to be happy with the court’s decision because the Islamist-dominated body did not represent all Egyptians, he said none of the dreams he harbored 16 months ago have come to fruition.

“There is no constitution, parliament is dissolved and the president will either be from the Brotherhood or the old government,” Shaheen said.

However, Shaleen said that when the elections begin on Saturday, he would vote for Shafiq, because “Islamists cannot be trusted to make good on the demands of the revolution”.

“If they win, this will be Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iran,” he said.

It appears as if the public mood after the court’s ruling reflected more weariness than passion, after a post-revolutionary run, that has divided the liberals, leftists and Islamists who in early 2011 stood together on the front lines in street fights against riot police.