Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mohamed Morsi


Mohamed Morsi was declared the winner of Egypt's presidential election today, with 52% of the vote.

Morsi is the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, and he defeated Ahmed Shafiq (a former prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, and supported by the military) in a runoff.

He is the first Islamist to be elected the head of state of an Arab country.

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According to the Post, there are large celebrations in Tahrir Square.

Morsi is officially resigning from the Muslim Brotherhood and "sought in recent days to gain the confidence of liberal and secular factions, promising a broad coalition government that would preserve the rights of women and Christians."

Ernesto Londono and Karin Brulliard summarize some of the potential consequences as follows:
Morsi’s election is sure to viewed as an inspiration to other Islamist movements in the Muslim world. It is also likely to be viewed as a potential threat by Israel, which depended on the Mubarak regime to adhere to a 35-year-old peace treaty between the two countries, and with skepticism by some secular, female and Christian Egyptians.

Conversely, it could buoy Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip and is an offshoot of the Brotherhood. Hamas officials are hopeful that an Islamist president will lead Egypt to reconsider the peace treaty, to more aggressively back the Palestinian national cause and to allow goods to be traded across the Gaza-Egypt border.

But changes to the treaty could imperil foreign aid to Egypt from the United States, which views the peace treaty as a centerpiece of its Middle East policy. Brotherhood leaders have said renegotiating the treaty is not their priority.
It's unclear from the article how much power Morsi will actually yield. Perhaps Egypt's new system of government will put primary authority with the prime minister, rather than the President? 

545. I've never quite understood why some parliamentary systems are run by the prime minister/chancellor (for example, Germany) whereas others are President-centric (France and Italy, for example). What's the difference between the two types of systems?

546. Periodically there is discussion of the United States using a Parliamentary system of government, rather than a President and bicameral legislature.  The theory is that things can actually get accomplished by the party in power, whereas the US system is often bogged down by opposition.  Would a Parliamentary system help us to more effectively address some of our long term issues (the debt, health care, and energy policy)?

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