Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Muslim Brotherhood Still Can't Sway Revolutionaries

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Muslim Brotherhood Still Can't Sway Revolutionaries

Article excerpt

CAIRO -- A campaign play for the votes of Egypt's taxi drivers by presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik says much about the final days of this country's first democratic presidential election.

"Did you hear Shafik's announcement? He is going to win the taxi vote. You must endorse us now," a member of the Muslim Brotherhood told Ahmed Maher, a leading figure in last year's demonstrations that toppled Hosni Mubarak, according to Mr. Maher. "We must meet right away."

At the hastily arranged meeting, Brotherhood representatives promised to meet the demands of Mr. Maher and other revolutionary figures in exchange for their endorsement of Mohammed Morsi, the Brotherhood candidate running against Mr. Shafik, Mr. Maher said. But when he asked for specifics, the negotiations collapsed in what has become an intractable problem for the Brotherhood: It still has not won the endorsement of its candidate from largely secular revolutionaries, even though they loathe the idea that Mr. Shafik, Mubarak's last prime minister, could win.

The back-and-forth negotiations have come to define the period between last month's first-round balloting and this week's run-off. Political parties have called their followers into the streets in hopes of re-creating the sense of unity that led to the fall of the Mubarak regime. But the elections and the taste of political power have made it difficult, if not impossible, for the parties to unite enough to ensure that a Mubarak holdover doesn't retake the presidency, this time in a democratic election spurred by their movement.

The disparate revolutionary groups cannot agree on who speaks for them and what they want. And the Brotherhood cannot agree on what it needs to do to win the revolutionary vote. Both sides can't even agree on how important the taxi driver vote is.

But they do agree that the fate of the revolution rests with the Brotherhood.

"It is really on us to prove to people that we are up to the responsibility and willing to work with others," said Amr Darrag, a Muslim Brotherhood representative in Giza. …

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