By Minna Jaffery
Egypt is once again making headlines with its ever-changing political climate. Last month, Mohammad Morsi was announced as the winner of the Egyptian presidential election. The Muslim Brotherhood candidate won fifty-two percent of the votes, beating out Shafik, the former prime minister
This is indeed a celebratory victory for Egypt, but their problems are far from over. There is still a very large and powerful opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood. Shafik did win forty-nine percent of the vote, highlighting the large number of voters who will continue to support him.
Earlier in June, the Egyptian military disbanded the first democratically-elected Parliament. Many believe that it was disbanded because the Muslim Brotherhood held the majority of the seats. The Muslim Brotherhood has been the only formal opposition party in Egypt since the 2005 Parliamentary elections. The ruling power at the time was former President Hosni Mubarak, who was backed by the military. For this reason, there is much tension between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military. Thus, this election serves as a proxy election to decide which party the Egyptian people want to be ruled by: the religion-based Muslim Brotherhood, who stand for democracy, but who have some more radical ideas, or the old regime, which is notorious for its harsh rule and unfair practices.
The question remains whether Egypt will become a fundamentally Islamic state. The president of Egypt has long been a figurehead more than a position of power, although this may change, as the people demand the removal of the military influence. Additionally, Morsi has already been asked to resign from the Muslim Brotherhood in order to ensure that the presidency is not influenced by the ideals of the Brotherhood.
This is a crucial point in the revolution: Egyptian citizens have shown that they are divided in their support of the Brotherhood and the military, but the majority does support a civilian-elected government. The burden is now on Morsi to maintain his office as president and rule the turbulent nation in a way that pleases both the military and his supporters. The small margin of victory serves to show how many people did not want him in power. It is always possible that the military will take over the government again, given that they do retain strongholds of support, but if they do, they will likely face a violent revolution again. If the Brotherhood maintains power, they may choose to change Egypt into a religious state, as opposed to the secular nation that it was under the military.
Although this is a great victory for the Egyptian revolution, it is by no measure a sign of stability. The people still have to fight, tooth and nail, for every small victory that they win over the military. The military will undoubtedly try to nullify the power of the president to take full control of the government once again. Many questions remain unanswered, but it is clear that changes are inevitable in Egypt.