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As showdown with military looms, Egypt liberals back Muslim Brotherhood

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The escalation comes amid a delay in the announcement of the official results of the presidential election, fueling concern about fraud and the perception that the outcome is being negotiated. The Muslim Brotherhood says Mr. Morsi won with 52 percent of the vote against Mr. Shafiq, the last prime minister under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Hassan Nafaa, a longtime liberal opposition figure who was among those announcing support for Morsi today, said that the coalition’s objective was to force Morsi to publicly commit himself to democratic values. “For us the point is not to support Mohamed Morsi against Shafiq, but to support democracy,” he said. “We need a democratic system and we feel that the SCAF is trying to manipulate and extend its mandate for an unlimited time, and this is not democratic at all.”

The deal also guaranteed non-Islamist forces representation in a new government if Morsi wins. Dr. Nafaa said the Brotherhood’s record of broken promises over the past year was worrying, but that secularists no longer had a choice but to unite with the Brotherhood against the military. “We hope that he will honor his promises and we are watching. We don’t have any other solution,” he said.

However, the coalition does not include representatives of the largest secular parties in parliament, and many liberals or secular revolutionaries still refuse to join the Brotherhood, some of whom also oppose the military.

Legitimacy and democracy

Wael Ghonim, a former Google employee who shot to fame during the uprising when he was arrested for running a Facebook page that had called for the original protests, also announced his support for the coalition. “This is not a stand with the Brotherhood. It is a stand with legitimacy, with democracy,” he said during the press conference.

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