|Islamists must make bold moves to win Egyptian presidential election||
The results of the first round of Egypt’s presidential election surprised the revolutionary forces. The unexpectedly large number of votes cast in favor of the pro-Western former prime minister, Ahmad Shafiq, disappointed Islamist groups and their supporters.
The feeling on the street in Egypt is that the man known for his loyalty to deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak would spoil the achievements of the revolution if he became president. Thus, the Islamists, represented by presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi, should attempt to reach a consensus in their approaches in order to prevent such a disaster from happening.
According to political analysts, the Islamists need to take a number of major steps to reach a consensus. First of all, they should try to devise a new doctrine to help them get the greatest number of votes possible and to gain the support of the Islamist candidates who did not make it to the second round of the election. If the Islamists promise to establish a unity government or a form of conventional coalition, with the participation of prominent Islamist figures who are not members of the Muslim Brotherhood, that could be the knockout punch that helps them defeat Ahmad Shafiq and his secular supporters.
The lack of leadership is viewed as the main reason for the stagnation of Egypt’s revolution, which was clearly manifested in the first round of the election. The revolutionaries are in urgent need of an integrated ideology and a strong leadership.
The continued street clashes between the revolutionaries and the forces loyal to the former regime could also be used by the ruling junta as a pretext to use excessive force. In addition, these clashes could create more divisions between the Muslims and the Coptic Christians, which would certainly undermine the entire Egyptian revolution.
The Islamists must also accept the fact that the military plays a role in Egypt’s political and economic life. In other words, the revolutionaries should exercise more restraint in dealing with the generals in order to gradually marginalize them.
And the Islamists must acknowledge the diverse nature of Egyptian society because any dispute or conflict started without taking the repercussions into consideration would result in a great political and social catastrophe. The fact that Israel has been a thorn in the side of Egypt for over six decades should also be addressed more carefully.
All this requires a comprehensive roadmap, in which the Muslim Brotherhood and its candidate should try to paint a positive image of themselves in the minds of Egyptians and pave the way for the realization of the objectives of the Egyptian revolution.
Ahmad Bakhshi is the head of the Department of African Studies at Tehran’s Tarbiat-e-Modarres University.
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