(Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's final Prime Minister. Could he make an unlikely comeback?)
Sometimes you just do not have good choices.
A French leftist woke up on the morning of the 5th May 2002 knowing that the only two candidates they could pick from for President was either right wing Jacques Chirac or far right wing Jean-Marie Le Pen. Not good at all.
Last weekend, on the final day of the English Premiership, the choice was do you want either Manchester City or Manchester United to win the league? City, a once great traditional club, has come to represent all that is hateful and commercially repulsive about big time capitalistic professional soccer- a team that has literally bought success through wads and wads of cash. While Manchester United represents what it always represented...the physical embodiment of evil...
Do you tell the woman you like- that your fancy her? If you do, and she says no, your heart will be ripped from your chest cavity and slammed against the wall. Two weeks later, you will be walking around your apartment in a dressing gown, swigging from a bottle of Scotch while humming Leonard Cohen songs...all at midday. Or if you don’t ask her, you will push your real emotions to the pit of your stomach where they eventually come out in weird ways. Like your ears start twitching during breakfast or a rash emerges on your forehead every time you hear her name.
Yeah c’mon you know what I’m talking about? Don’t you?...no?
Well anyway...it seems according to the latest opinion polls the revolutionary forces may have a pretty bad choice in the runoff in the upcoming Presidential election.
If Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh is squeezed out- then the fight could be just between Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq. (The top two in the first round go through to the second round in mid June)
The revolutionaries have a name for former members of the Mubarak era regime- “Felool” meaning remnant.
Moussa is an ex Minister for Foreign Affairs (for ten years) under Mubarak- he was not seen as especially close to the former dictator...but still he was part of the former regime. For many revolutionaries he is felool.
Ahmed Shafiq is felool to the max. The last Prime Minister under Mubarak- a vote for him can only be seen as a vote for counter revolution surely?
Many who will vote for these candidates will be voting out of fear of “Islamism”, and for some it will be in favour of “stability” in Egypt. (There are huge concerns here about the lack of security and a rise in crime since the revolution). But the irony is, a candidate who is perceived as being very close to the former regime, is probably the least likely to bring “stability” to the country- as revolutionaries will surely pour back onto the streets if he wins.
Either way, even as a “neutral” observer, one has to think that the inclusion of a candidate in the second round who is in some way identified with the hopes and dreams of the revolution ( we are essentially talking about Abul-Fotouh or Hamdeen Sabbahi here) is something to be wished for, so as the electorate will have at least some clear choice in mid June.
If not, the scenario of a Moussa versus Shafiq race in the second round, is...well...sort of depressing, and sure to anger the revolutionary forces here.
Anyway that is all a little downbeat...so here is some fist thumping early Umm Kulthum to lift spirits a little...