I was not hazarding an uneducated guess when I called for holding a democratic election as a first step in the transition and emphasized that the result of the vote was not known in advance; recognizing at the same time that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy had a strong chance of winning.
I trusted that nobody could rig the election and that the military institution was not going to fix the results of the vote like jailed steel tycoon and former National Democratic Party leader Ahmed Ezz and his clique did. I was confident that Egypt had a respectable army, judiciary and administrative body, despite the defects they suffer from. Political powers should work to reform these institutions rather than settle scores with them or attempt to transform them into institutions biased toward the executive authority.
It is saddening that Morsy, who is most likely Egypt’s next president, would issue so many threats before making it to the presidency. After the unofficial results showed that he was leading the vote, Morsy adopted a softer tone, saying he would be a president for all Egyptians after he had sent a message to the contrary. The coming Brotherhood president needs to make core changes to the structure of his discourse and his relationship with the Brotherhood, as well as to how the group relates to state institutions. The current Brotherhood leadership does not seem to be making much progress in this regard.
Morsy’s progress in this election comes after the Brotherhood witnessed the most dramatic transformation in its history — forming a legal political party distinct from the group, which remains intentionally unlicensed. But the group should be aware of the fact that success stories reveal that any radical power or group that comes from outside the mainstream political system should adopt a reassuring and reformative discourse toward state institutions. It should not give the impression that it will hegemonize political life and exploit the state apparatus to serve its own ideological goals.
As the Brotherhood embraces the historic opportunity of having its candidate become Egypt’s first civilian president, it should ensure that his election does not subvert the pillars of the Egyptian state. It should make sure Parliament does not become a scene for the settlement of accounts or a place where legislation is tailored to punish or benefit certain figures. The Brotherhood should not reiterate allegiance to the revolution when at loggerheads with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and turn their back on the goals of the revolution when at peace with them.
Indeed, some do not accept the existence of an Islamist wave even if it brings democracy, but there is a vast majority that endorses this wave and believes that this country’s future will be in danger without a modern Islamist democratic wave. I doubt the Brotherhood and Morsy would be able to establish such a current, but I do hope they prove me wrong.