The results of Egypt’s presidential election have been officially announced and the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian wing, Hamas, are in a state of jubilation. Mohammed Morsi won with 51.7% of the vote, while the secularist former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq came in a close second with 48.2%. The Islamists shouldn’t get too excited. The fact remains that the Supreme Armed Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) remains in control of the country.
Protests in Egypt swelled as it was reported that Shafiq was going to be declared the winner. By all accounts, it was a close election but the preliminary tally showed Morsi ahead. If Shafiq became president, the population would have understandably seen it as a decision of SCAF and not the voters. By permitting a legitimate election, SCAF has avoided a confrontation with the Egyptian population while maintaining its hold on power.
SCAF prepared for this eventuality with a tremendous power grab right before the voting began. It gave permission to the military to arrest civilians for vague offenses like interfering with traffic and damaging the economy, accusations that will come in handy when cracking down on protests and strikes. The Supreme Constitutional Court then dissolved parliament under the pretext that party loyalists had illegally been elected as independents.