Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A good sign in Egypt

Egyptians went to the polls last weekend in presidential elections, and after some disturbing delays in announcing the results (which suggested that the military was preparing to ignore them), elected the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi as their first democratically elected president. The election of an Islamist candidate has worried some people, who seem to think that it automatically means a religious dictatorship (strangely they have no such fears of western Christian Democratic parties such as that currently ruling Germany). But it looks like Morsi is not going down that path:

Mohamed Morsi's first appointments as president-elect of Egypt will be a woman and a Coptic Christian, his spokesman has told the Guardian, as he moves to allay fears of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sameh el-Essawy said that although the names of the two choices had not been finalised, they would be Morsi's two vice-presidents.

When the appointments go through, they will constitute the first time in Egypt's history that either a woman or a Coptic Christian has occupied such an elevated position in the executive branch.

This is a good sign, but not entirely unexpected. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood have generally pushed parliamentary democracy, not theocracy. That may change now that they've gained power, but that will be a problem for the Egyptian people to solve at the ballot box.