The announcement that Mohammad Morsi is to become President of Egypt is, to state the blindingly obvious, intriguing. Neither the future of the country, nor the exact role that SCAF wants to play, are any clearer than 48 hours ago. Sitting on an 11th floor balcony overlooking the Al-Jazeera camera crew, it was not hard to hear the celebratory roar unleashed by partisans of the president-elect. This, to them, must surely feel like a releasing of the shackles that have weighed them down for the vast majority of the recent past.
That being said, this by no means indicates a newfound willingness of the ruling military council to relinquish power. Rather, it could be that this is merely a new move to simultaneously maintain their strength while attempting to defuse tension. It must be stated that any conjecture about the country’s politics is, at best, an exercise in hypothesis, and dichotomizing may reveal a picture that is in fact not so black and white.
Nevertheless, this situation could result in more control by a civilian government, however it is unlikely that an institution, that of the military elite that has ran the country for recent decades, would suddenly be eager to cede power to another body, not to mention one which it has battled for over half a century. Egypt has gone from colony, to a monarchy, to a government run by the military, and the idea of allowing a staunch adversary effective control over affairs is simply not realistic. It could be that this is merely a ploy to create the illusion of a democracy, in the hopes of lessening opposition and ultimately maintaining control.
The other standpoint is that the military is actually eager and willing to allow someone else control over affairs, and are trying their best to manage the transition. This is not completely outside the realms of possibility, however if the past is any indicator of the future, one should be doubtful of such a possibility. This story is not one that will be finished soon, and there are many pages left to turn. What is certain is that today marks a certain crossroads of Egyptian history, and it is anyone’s guess which direction events will take. Until proceedings indicate otherwise, I am of the opinion that this development represents a certain acceptance by the military council that, in order to go forward, a few steps backward must be accepted. It is no longer possible to maintain absolute rule over the people, and power sharing will become a constant theme. The idea that they simply want to retreat to the sidelines, however, I cannot accept.