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Think Tank

Egypt: Spring Beginning or Polarized Nation?

What is the Big Idea?

Voters in Egypt went to the polls today for day two of the country's presidential election. Kate Woodsome from Voice of America, Asia curated Tweets, Twitpics and social media from the ground at this historic event.

See below for images and multimedia.

What's the Significance?

As the ballots are being tallied, the second day of voting reveals how deeply polarized the country has become, with "backers of rival Islamists and former regime figures each vowing they cannot let the other rule," according to an AP report.

"The impact of their rivalry goes beyond the key question of who gets to rule Egypt for the next four years," says the report.

An Islamist president will mean a more religious government. However, a president from Hosni Mubarak's ousted regime would keept the county "locked in a dictatorship and thwart democracy."

 There are 13 candidates in all. But the two candidates that inspire the most polarized opinions are Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest political group, and Ahmed Shafiq,  Mubarak's last prime minister, who was kicked out of office by street protests a few weeks after Mubarak was ousted.

Both candidates have repeatedly warned of the dangers of the other becoming president. Morsi has said there would be massive street protests if a "feloul"  — a member of the Mubarak regime — wins the vote. 

Shafiq has said it would be "unacceptable" if an Islamist takes the presidential office, echoing the rhetoric of Mubarak, his mentor who devoted much of his 29-year rule to fighting Islamists. 

"While a Shafiq victory could spark protests, the deeper problem is whether Egypt's multiple power centers will be able to work together no matter who wins. Egyptians are eager for the new leader to rebuild the nation, wracked by more than a year of unrest, crime and a faltering economy."

 

Image courtesy of MOHPhoto/Shutterstock.com

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