Elbaradei Quits Egyptian Presidential Race

Mohammad Elbaradei has withdrawn from the Egyptian presidential election. He is the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and was a thorn in the Bush administration’s eyes because of his honesty and lack of tolerance for false accusations.

Elbaradei says he is afraid that the presidential election will be fixed by Egypt’s powerful military, which still controls the country. He complains that the military is ruling “as though Mubarak had never been overthrown.” This outcome is because the officer corps does not believe Mubarak was overthrown. They think they deposed him on behalf of the people, and have gone on ruling on behalf of the people.

According to al-Ahram writing in Arabic, one of the considerations affecting ElBaradei’s decision was the new plan to have the president elected before a constitution is drafted. He complains that the constitution will set the president’s relationship to the other powerful officer holders, but that relationship won’t even be known during the presidential campaign.

I was at a conference in Turkey in December on the Arab Spring to which some Egyptian activist-scholars came. I asked one if, given that the Muslim Brotherhood had won the parliamentary elections, there would be an MB Prime Minister. He said the equivalent of ‘never in a million years!’

I was amazed, because in parliamentary systems that is the way it works. The majority forms a government and chooses a prime minister.

But in fact the military intends to keep Kamal Ganzouri at the head of the government, regardless of the parliamentary alliances that are formed.

One of the tepid reforms accepted by King Muhammad VI of Morocco is that from now on he would appoint the prime minister from the largest party in parliament.

Egypt’s military is now officially more tyrannical than the Moroccan monarchy.

Elbaradei is reportedly afraid that the Muslim Brotherhood will like having its parliamentary majority so much, and will like having the opportunity to shape the new Egptian constitution, that they will strike a deal with the military to let them do as they please.

In essence, Egypt has a situation not so different from 2006, when the old ruling elite allowed 88 Muslim brothers into the lower house in that year’s elections. The MB thus became a junior partner in the military junta that behind the scenes rules Egypt. Now it will become a senior partner, but is still co-habiting with the old elite.

The bottom line is that if Elbaradei thinks that the presidential election will not be on the up and up, it is a huge blow to the legitimacy of the current process.

5 Responses

  1. Or maybe he realized that that a population that elected such a majority of Islamists would unlikely elect him for president?

    Just a thought.

  2. Wondering what % of the citizens even voted because it already looking like the military wasn’t going to let go of their power and money. Then where is Amerikas state department on this other than shipping more crowd control devices to Egpyt?

  3. Re “the military wing of government, as archetypified by the rulers of Egypt and the reality in the US of We Love Our Freedom A:”

    Kleptocrats with all the big guns, the end stage of “human civilization” — the thing that started with the ingenuity of some plodding hunter-gatherer who figured out how to fill out his, or more likely her, caloric needs by growing lots of wild plants that had edible seeds that could over time be stored and had to be protected (the start of the “security state”) against the thievery of other bands of hunter-gatherers and then the denizens of other walled enclaves, wherein developed the hierarchical division-of-labor structure with “noble rulers” and “holy priests” and bureaucrats and, of course, Warriors. To provide “security,” and contain “freedom,” and generate Holy Conflicts and Slave Raids against, or just Resource Thefts from, them Others in their flammable kraals or behind their scalable or mine-able mud or stone walls and battering-rammable gates.

    “Good” military-wings-of-government are like successful parasites: bleed the host, but not so much as to kill it. Play to and pump up and exaggerate the tribal mind set. Generate fear — of the military wing, if you can’t find a sufficiently effective Other to flap your flag and wave your tallywacker at at.

    The wise human learns one of several coping behaviors: Head-down Yassuh-bossing, if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em, staying mouse-sized and inoffensive and as invisible as possible.

  4. Dr Cole,
    This is OT here and you may well know of it already but …

    I have recently seen “No More Fear” a film on the Tunisian
    revolution. Those appearing include Radhia Nasraoui, Hamma Hammami, the young blogger Lina ben Mennhi and her father.

    The film is informative and moving, and RN and HH tell several
    amusing anecdotes. IMDB listing:

    link to imdb.com

  5. but does this hypothtical coalition mean Egypt will continue to be a puppet for US “interests” meaning Israeli interests in large part, if effected?

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