Will 2% become Egypt’s new bleeding edge?

Posted on June 19, 2012

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English: A Egyptian football player kicking Ho...

Hosni Mubarak was kicked out of power, but has he left behind a legacy? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the heat of battle, the real issues sometimes become blurred.

With both the Islamists and the military claiming a victory of 2% to 4% in the run-off poll for the presidency of Egypt, the very real specter of another upheaval looms large. When the official results are declared on Wednesday, Egyptians will know whether their new president — a post whose powers were clipped before the election — will be Mohamad Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood or Ahmed Shafiq, the secular former military officer who was imprisoned dictator Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister.

The revolutionary Egyptian youth clearly find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

As the echoes of the Arab Spring start to fade, the world is waiting for the most populous Arab nation to take its first tentative steps towards a functioning democracy. Egypt, which is also the Arab world’s second-largest economy behind Saudi Arabia, presents all the opportunities of big-ticket business and economic growth, if only it could put in place transparent and effective policies to support it.

The Military Council and the Muslim Brotherhood continue to maneuver around each other to grab the top political positions, creating a challenging economic environment for the next 12-18 months underpinned by weak growth prospects and a negative investment climate.

Zawya’s regional jobs report shows that unemployment in Egypt increased to 12.4% in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to 11.9% for the same period in 2010. The newly elected rulers of the country will probably need to heed the real and present danger represented by this statistic, instead of squabbling over a 2% victory.

— Yazad Darasha

More intelligence on Egypt’s prospects:

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Posted in: Economy