Brothers and officers — a history of pacts

Wael Eskandar writes: The politics of the past two years have generated widespread interest in the historical relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Egypt’s wielders of power, especially at a time when observers are eager to understand the prospects for accommodation (or adversity) between the MB and traditional bureaucratic powers inside the Egyptian state, such as the military establishment.

For instance, the circumstances surrounding the election of President Mohamed Morsi in June 2012 have raised numerous questions about the MB’s relationship with Egypt’s military rulers. During the lead-up to the announcement of the election results, it seemed that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) was bargaining with the Brotherhood over the future of the country. While official results were due on 20 June, their announcement was postponed to 24 June with little transparency on why the official vote count was being withheld and what was happening behind the scenes.

MB statements at the time suggested that the SCAF was holding the results hostage until the group accepts the continuation of military leaders’ reserved powers as per the constitutional annex that SCAF had issued on 17 June 2012 shortly before the end of voting. Before it was annulled last August by President Morsi, the annex to the Constitutional Declaration set limitations on presidential authority and granted the SCAF legislative powers in light of the dissolution of parliament in mid-June. In its official response that same month, the MB vowed to fight for presidential powers and called on its supporters to occupy Tahrir Square in protest of SCAF’s constitutional annex. Eventually, official results were released declaring Morsi’s victory. The MB’s nominee ended up swearing the oath to the Supreme Constitutional Court, thus implicitly recognizing the dissolution of parliament and the SCAF-sponsored constitutional framework that the Brotherhood supposedly rejected. Morsi became Egypt’s first elected president after the January 25 Revolution, yet one question remains lurking in the background: at what price? [Continue reading…]

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