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In Egypt, the army wins. Again. (+video)

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Is it an exciting race, with two extremely different candidates tussling to shape Egypt's future? No, at least, not anymore.

On the eve of polls opening last Saturday, the military junta that has ruled Egypt for the past 18 months took all the air out of the proceedings by decreeing itself Egypt's real power. This was only a formalization of a long-standing state of affairs, but it removed the pretense that Egypt is in the middle of a transition to full civilian rule, overseen by a benevolent military eager to get back to barracks. If Mr. Morsi wins, his hands will be completely tied. If Mr. Shafiq wins; welcome to Mubarak 2.0.

What happened to the ‘transition’?

What did they do? The Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF), the junta led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, decreed that the military should govern its own affairs and effectively gave itself a veto over new legislation and the writing of a new constitution.

Who gets to appoint Egypt's senior officers? Egypt's current senior officers.

Who has the power to declare war? Egypt's senior officers.

Who will the constituent assembly tasked with drafting a new Egyptian constitution answer to? Egypt's senior officers.

Nathan Brown, a leading scholar of Egyptian politics, writes "the supplementary constitutional declaration really does complete the coup in many obvious ways – basically returning martial law (in its more original sense rather than the 'state of emergency' that just expired), making the military unaccountable, and grabbing back oversight of the political system for the military just weeks before the scheduled end of military rule."

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