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Egyptians vote between orthodoxy and extremism

By Hugo Odiogor

Eygypt is at a cross roads and so is the world as the country that is at the heart of Arab politics goes for a cliff hanger presidential  election run-off that is already threatening to upstage geopolitcal calculations.

Since the Arab Spring revolution that toppled the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak in February last year, Egypt has not been at ease and the decision of the Supreme court to  dissolve the Islamist dominated parliament, deepens the level of political uncertainty in the power house of Arab politics.

The dissolution of the parliament dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, returns power to the  interim military rulers who appear to be wary of handing over power to the Islamists paving the way for a return to the pre-revolution days of the old guard.

The military leadership which has played dominant role in the politics of Egypt since 1954 is  obviously watching caarefully,  the ascendency of Islamist politics which portends grave danger for the military and the entire society which could see the demise of secularism.

The people of Egypt are facing two exteme possiblilties in this second round vote.In front run for the second round election are Ahmed Shafiq, a former leader of Egypt’s air force and former prime minister under the deposed Mubarak regime and Mohammed Morsi  an engineer by training who once worked for NASA in U.S.

Both candidates had about 25% in the first election held in May. Shafiq owes his survival to his military colleagues in power and to the court, which also upheld the legality of his candidacy in its ruling but there are fears and distrust that his victory would mean a throwback to the era of Mubarak. His opponents therefore argue that a vote for Shafiq is a vote for the strong-arm politics that have longed plagued Egypt.


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