Egypt's pro-democracy activists fear run-off vote
Protest groups left to wonder if struggle to overthrow Mubarak has backfired on them
Monday 28 May 2012
The shock and bewilderment following Egypt's unexpected preliminary presidential election result has triggered recriminations among the liberal activists who helped topple Hosni Mubarak last year.
Many of the protesters, who saw preferred candidates such as the left-wing activist Hamdeen Sabahi pushed out of the running, are openly questioning whether the months of gritty street politics which convulsed Egypt last year might have backfired.
Unofficial results suggest next month's presidential run-off will pit the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi against Ahmed Shafik, a former air force chief who is widely viewed as the ruling military council's de facto candidate.
Analysts suggested Mr Shafik was catapulted into second place by voters tired of the eekly demonstrations and a rise in crime after Mr Mubarak's fall.
It has left some activists wondering whether they made a disastrous miscalculation by getting lured into repeated bouts of violence by the military and security forces. "We didn't get our message across to the normal citizens," said Mona Dadeir, a member of the April 6 youth movement that helped spearhead protests last year. "They blame us because they lost their sense of security."
Shereen al-Touny, an activist who co-founded a NGO to monitor parliamentary elections, said she understood why voters had grown weary.
"I am a revolutionary. I went to the streets for all the marches and sit-ins. But I am tired," she said. "If I am saying I'm tired, can you imagine what someone sitting on their couch at home is saying?"
Official election results will be announced this week, but many activists are horrified at the prospect of voting for either of the current run-off candidates. "Ahmed Shafik will hang us if he wins," Amal Sharaf, a leading member of April 6, said.
There is also a belief that again, when it really mattered, the liberal opposition was hopelessly divided. If other so-called "revolutionary" candidates had stepped down, they argue, Mr Sabahi could have won.
"That was a historical mistake," Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, a founding member of a leading youth coalition, said. Activists are calling for more anti-Shafik protests in Cairo tomorrow.
In a separate development, one of Mr Mubarak's closest aides was jailed for seven years and fined $6m (£3.8m) for corruption.
A Cairo court convicted Zakaria Azmi of using his position to illegally make $7m (£4.5m).
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...