Mohammed Morsi ′will try to offer dialogue′ | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 25.06.2012
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Mohammed Morsi 'will try to offer dialogue'

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi has won the presidential election in Egypt, marking a new age for the country. But some consider him a pale figure that represents continuity - not post-revolutionary Egypt.

Over 80 million Egyptians were on tenterhooks for the final results of the first free presidential election in the country. The electoral commission needed a week to count the votes, but now it's official - Mohammed Morsi is the new president of Egypt.

For many Egyptians, the new president is a typical apparatchik - a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party.

A doctor of engineering, Morsi joined the Islamist movement three decades ago. Since then, he has made his career within the Muslim Brotherhood - first in its religion department, then in its head office, and finally as its officially independent candidate in the Egyptian parliament.

Supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi celebrate in Tahrir square

The Muslim Brotherhood is now the strongest political force

Career among brothers

In 2005, Morsi, who spent time living in the US, also became the brotherhood's official spokesman. After supporting protests against the alleged manipulation of parliamentary elections, he spent seven months in prison in 2006.

After the Arab Spring uprising and the subsequent fall of President Hosni Mubarak, Mosni became chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, founded by the brotherhood in April last year. At the end of last year, he led the party to victory in the parliamentary election, where they became the biggest party with 45 percent of the vote.

But few predicted that the 60-year-old Islamist would actually succeed Mubarak. He was even considered the second choice for the Muslim Brotherhood itself. The Freedom and Justice Party only put him in the race after his deputy, Khairat El-Shater, was ruled out. El-Shater is considered charismatic, while Morsi is thought to be a pragmatist.

More continuity than change

"Mohammed Morsi is a pale figure," Hamadi El-Aouni, Egypt expert at the Free University of Berlin, told DW. "He will try to offer dialogue, but he'll stay a fundamentalist." El-Aouni expects the new president to remain loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood's agenda, and points out that the circumstances are favorable for the Islamists - they are currently the strongest force in Egyptian politics, and have the best networks throughout the country. On top of this, the movement has deep roots in the conservative heartlands of Egypt.

An Egyptian election official, right, opens a ballot box

The Egyptian election was heavily contested

The fact that the Muslim Brotherhood was banned under Mubarak, gives the party a unique credibility for many Egyptians. But Andrea Teti, lecturer in International Relations at the University of Aberdeen and Senior Fellow at the European Center for International Affairs, thinks that Morsi is not the true face of the new Egypt.

"The Muslim Brotherhood always chose to negotiate with the old regime, instead of challenging it," he told DW. From that point of view, he argues, Morsi represents continuity rather than transition for Egypt.

Author: Anne Allmeling / bk
Editor: Jessie Wingard

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