On the Presidential elections

In a few months, Egypt will undergo its first Post-Mubarak presidential elections. Barring no new entrants in the race after registration starts on the 10th of March, and everything else remaining constant, here is an analysis of how this thing will go down.

The Candidates Categories:

Ex-Mubarak Regime: Includes Ahmed Shafiq, the ex-Mubarak Prime Minister; Amr Moussa, the ex-Mubarak Foreign minister; Hossam Khairallah, an ex- high ranking official in Mubarak’s Intelligence.

Islamists pretending to be liberals: Includes AbdelMoneim Aboulfotouh and Selim Elawwa , both ex-Muslim Brotherhood.

The Salafis: Hazem Salah Abu Ismael.


The Breakdown:

Ex-Mubarak Regime: In that category, and given the sorry state of his campaign, Mr. Khairallah is slated to get maybe half a million votes. Ahmed Shafiq, who, for some unfathomable reason beyond my comprehension has a relatively high level of popularity, will get maybe 2 million votes. Thus leaving Amr Moussa, who has the highest level of name recognition and money, estimated to get at least 10 million votes, thus emerging as the real winner in that category.

Islamists pretending to be liberals: Selim Elawwa has no real base of support, so he will maybe get a half a million votes, so he is also out from round one. Aboulfotouh is slated to get the votes of religious centrists, ex-Baradei supporters, a contingent of the revolutionaries that believe- for some reason- he is one of them, and the mid-cadres inside the Muslim brotherhood, who will not openly support him, but will vote for him, since he was their mentor, literally. This amount will round –up to about 8 million votes that Aboulfotouh should get, and thus cementing his status as the winner in that category as well.

The Salafis: The salafi vote is estimated to be around 9 million votes, but so far the salafi parties have not endorsed Abu Ismail, and we still don’t know if the Noor Party has a candidate of their own, thus splintering the salafi vote. But if everything remained constant, and no other salafi candidate emerges, Abu Islamail will get the 9 million votes.

This leaves us with two possible scenarios:

Scenario A is one where Abu Islamil gets no competitors for the salafi vote, so he and Amr Moussa end up going to the run-off round, at which point the Abulfotouh votes get splintered almost evenly between the two candidates, and Moussa gets all of the ex-Mubarak regime votes on top of this, so he ends up being the winner, and Egypt’s next President.

Scenario B is one where Abu Ismail gets a competitor, splintering the salafi vote, and leaving the run-off between Moussa and Aboulfotouh, at which point the salafi vote will go to Abulfotouh, so he ends up being the winner and Egypt’s next President.

And thus, if no super-candidate shows up in the last minute and no political fiasco ends up exploding in the middle of the race, we end up being with one of two Presidents: A salafi-backed Muslim Brotherhood President, or an Ex-Mubarak Hack President.

Doesn’t that just leave you super excited for this election?

17 Comments on On the Presidential elections

  1. Jayson Casper
    March 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Astute, but premature? After all, the MB keeps hinting it will support a ‘surprise’ candidate that has not been revealed yet. Who know where this is going, but won’t it affect your analysis?

  2. Tarek
    March 4, 2012 at 9:25 am


    Very nice analysis, but I think you forgot the factor that the MB’s might support one of the above mentioned candidates, which might turns all our calculations upside down. But I am sure it won’t be Abou Ismail anyway. On the other hand, I see you are underestimating the Salafy votes, whether they will be given to Abou Ismail or someone else.

    I can’t agree more with your “And thus, if no super-candidate shows up in the last minute and no political fiasco ends up exploding in the middle of the race, we end up being with one of two Presidents: A salafi-backed Muslim Brotherhood President, or an Ex-Mubarak Hack President” part. And I think this will end up to be Moussa vs Abou Ismail, unless that super-candidate emerged from nowhere.

    By the way, I see you are ignoring some other candidates such as Khaled Aly (the leftists preferred candidate for now), don’t you think he have any chance, at least may be better chance than the likes of Hossam Khairallah and El-Awwa. Also what about Bothaina Kamel and Hamdeen Sabbahy? No chance for any of them?

  3. Barakotta
    March 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I like the scientific approach.. But how do you arrive at 10 million votes for Moussa, 8 for fotouh, and that there are 9 million Salafis?
    27 million ppl voted in parliamentary elections..
    10m voted for democratic alliance. Q1: how many of them were proper ikhwan?
    7.5m voted for islamic alliance. Q2: how many of them were proper salafis?
    2.5 wafd, 2.4 kotla, 1 wasat, safe to say these will be dispersed between moussa, abol fotooh, and abo ismail
    or did you not start your analysis from parliamentary results?

  4. Claire
    March 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    LOL this made me laugh..welcome to my world. I’m not voting for a tri-billion-zillionare in my country>unless it is Warren Buffett because he is just so neato:):)
    That was nice of you to write out a somewhat voters guide. I always take the newspaper into the voting booth..there’s always some 20+ judges or something we have to vote on as well and not like anyone knows about any of it.

  5. Claire
    March 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Oh, and for you rabid Sarah Palin Republican people…yes, I VOTE! So haha HATERZ

  6. Mohsin Baghdady
    March 5, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Nice analysis. However, you forgot important factors.

    Who is going to be the USA man? Whoever it is, he will have the CIA behind him and an unlimited amount of cash …. could it be Abu Ismaeil

    Charisma: Who is the one that has the type of charisma that is appealing to the Egyptian masses (mostly uneducated and deeply religious) …. could it be Abu Ismaeil

    The Saudi factor, lots of cash but popularity is a big question market.

    The ex-regime / felloul factor. Are they going to stay out now? Who is their man?

    The MB factor, as smart as they are smart and quiet successful so far, they made a huge mistake. Part of becoming too cocky after the parliament elections, they turned their back to the US too soon. Big mistake that will cost them.

    Back to the US man. Let us say he is Mr Khar-Allah. The way they will support him is going to include multiple fronts. One of them is to push one or two Islamists, so votes of all Egyptian Islamists (the majority) will spread among several candidates, rather than one or two. Draft the Army power to support their real man (again, who is an ex-military candidate, is it Khair-Allah; is he kept out of the limelight to minimize the attacks on him for right now or is he just an ambitious weakling).

    I think its going to be a close call between Sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail and the real Us man (whoever that is).


  7. James
    March 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    It is even more simple. The Islamicists are i and will take control. Egypt will spiral down into barbarism. The Copts will flee if they can. Soon armies will begin to deploy. It is going to end badly for everyone.

  8. Dr. Ashraf Ezzat
    March 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Mahmoud, you got that right, not the numbers and percentages i’m referring to, rather the surrealistic reality that we’re left with two ulgiest options; MB/Salafi radicals or Ex-Mubarak cronies.
    Personally, I’ll vote for Mrs. Buthaina Kamel. I know she has no chance, but if any of those presidential hopefuls have any thing to do with the revolution, it’s more likely to be Buthaina and Sabahi.

  9. Fuck it
    March 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Just over the horizon a raging storm awaits
    Called the Wrath of God, tempest fast comes
    A hammer of the Divine, what God sadly wills
    From filth, Earth must be cleansed and cleared

    Misnammed priest squeals, and his chest inflates
    Creatrure calls for murder, beating his bass wardrums
    His opaque window upon future, without pane or sills
    Beast wants is worse than anything you have feared

    Those who have submitted sit in a puddle of piss
    Cretins dreaming of a false portrait of sensual bliss
    like piss puddle monkeys they throw about their shit
    In the illusion of a lying prophet’s idiot psychopathic fit

    They will dance about as upon their flesh a brand seared
    Their dance synthesis of murder, rape, God slandering kills
    Submitters howl, as Wrath comes to collect their evils’ sums
    Those that desecrate God’s Name, live in hell bound states

    Set to receive the cleansing storm, the foolishly strap bearded
    will be fed to burning hell, like wheat to the machine driven mills
    foul believing scum, like an asshole rapist when he in ass cums
    An asshole in an asshole, this is how a salafi mates

  10. lynne
    March 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Mahmoud, excellent analysis. I always look forward to your posts which clarify these complicated and difficult matters.

  11. Ibrahim
    March 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I think you’re under-estimating Abu Ismael. There’s a reason why the Salafi/MB political elites are refusing to endorse him. They want a candidate who will appease their constituencies but also appease the Army and US-interests (you might add the ex-regimists in this group).

    Abu Ismael is not controllable in the way that the Brotherhood want him to be. I don’t know how this thing is going to turn out, but all I know is that Abu Ismael might shockingly represent the biggest wildcard in the entire race, to the extent that I wouldn’t be surprised if the MB leaders endorse someone like Amr Moussa over Abu Ismael (if it came down to the two of them).

  12. ugh
    March 26, 2012 at 3:07 am

    So when will true liberal Egyptians admit that the Arab Spring was as many expected, a complete farce ?

    A little honesty about how the youth movements got manipulated would go a long way in the face of Arab Spring references amongst the OWS movements, not to mention other Arab countries who hopes to follow suit.

  13. Publicola
    March 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Rome …. and democracy were not built in one day!

  14. Zahra
    April 5, 2012 at 8:21 am


    I am interested in your analysis now that the MB has announced a candidate. Here are some comments I made on another site.

    Possible scenarios:

    3 candidates: Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Salafi, Liberal

    Prior to the announcement of the MB fielding a candidate, the Salafi was polling at about 22 percent, and the liberal at around 33 percent.

    1. Islamist vote is split between the MB and Salafi candidates. Winner: Liberal candidate, or possible (likely?) MB has enough votes to still beat a split.

    2. MB candidate might pull votes from liberal candidate because the choice prior to the MB candidate entering the race was between the salafist and liberal candidate. Its possible that many MB members leaned toward the liberal candidate. I say this because of the regular people I have talked to who say they are MB supporters – most despise the salafi in general. They see them as too harsh and nutty. In this case – MB would likely win as almost zero of those who were leaning liberal would go to a salafist candidate but might support the MB candidate. Winner: MB candidate

    3. MB internal members split over MB running a candidate (the vote to run one was a narrow 56 to 52), and votes go to either liberal or salafist candidate. (If that happens my guess is that most of those dissenters will lean liberal despite what might seem conventional wisdom.) However, I expect that most MB members will back their guy despite the internal division on whether to run one or not. Winner: MB candidate

    4. MB candidate pulls votes from both salafi and liberal candidates. Winner: MB candidate

    5. Liberal candidate is able to convince enough Egyptians that power all in the hands of one party is detrimental to Egypt. Winner: Liberal

    6. Salafist candidate able to convince enough Egptians that austere sharia law is the way to go. Winner: Salafi, or possibly MB

    7. MB is able to convince enough Egyptians that the real battle is with the SCAF. Winner: MB

    8. (It’s the economy…) MB or liberal able to convince enough Egyptians that they are the most competent to handle economic issues. Winner: MB or Liberal. (I never hear of anyone mentioning that the salafist candidate would be good for the economy.)

    There are other scenarios – these are the major ones at the moment that I can think of. Feel free to correct any of my scenarios, or add to them, if anyone is so inclined.

    My prediction? Things change on a dime here but I am guessing the MB candidate will win. If he doesn’t then the liberal.

    Ultimately – as in any democracy – it will depend on how motivated the bases are to get out and vote, and how capable the candidates are in putting out a convincing message.


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