The announcement that Mohamed Mursi from Muslim Brotherhood had won Egypt’s presidential election was met with relief and celebrations across the country.
Mursi won 51.7 percent of the vote while his opponent, the regime’s Ahmed Shafiq, won 48 percent. Shafiq was prime minister in dictator Hosni Mubarak’s last cabinet.
Mursi has now moved into Mubarak’s presidential palace. For decades this was the base of a regime that outlawed, imprisoned and tortured the Brotherhood.
From Cairo, Revolutionary Socialist Hisham Fouad told Socialist Worker that Mursi’s victory had dealt the counter-revolution “a serious blow”.
Shafiq is responsible for the murder of hundreds of political protesters—and people know it.
“Shafiq’s defeat has given a boost to the revolution,” Hisham added. “There is a mood of celebration like the mood after Mubarak fell. Now the struggle will continue in the streets to defeat the rest of the military’s recent attacks.”
These include the dissolution of parliament, giving military police new powers to arrest civilians and allowing the military government (Scaf) to shape the new constitution.
The military enacted these new powers only days before the presidential election results were announced.
This “soft” coup looked like it might be the precursor to a full military takeover.The fact that Scaf stepped back from installing its man as president shows that it fears the revolutionary movement.
The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood has collaborated with the military since the fall of Mubarak. Yet even it was threatened by the coup and had to take to the streets to defend the revolution.
Further repression is still a danger. But Mursi’s presidency opens up the possibility of the revolution deepening.
He faces raised expectations from all those who risked their lives and took to the streets to topple Mubarak and win freedom and democracy.
People want to see decent jobs and an end to poverty. Youth unemployment is running at around 25 percent—a devastating figure when 60 percent of the population is under 30 years old.
They also want to see corruption cleared out from all the institutions in Egyptian society. And they want the new president stand up to Israel and the Western powers—and support the Palestinians.
Mursi will be unable or unwilling to meet these aspirations. The Egyptian economy is in deep crisis, with foreign currency reserves severely depleted.
Mursi is the president but the military still holds the power. “This will lead to new battles and confrontations with the army,” says Hisham.
“We will also see an upsurge in social demands on the new president and clashes as he attempts to implement his neoliberal economic programme on the people of Egypt.”