“The Egyptian people will never vote for them again. Anyone who runs in the name of an Islamist movement will not be voted for,” said Islam Badran, a 23-year-old lawyer who said he voted for Morsi but turned resolutely against him, joining last week’s protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square until Morsi stepped down.
Analysts say there could be any number of scenarios.
“This is an opportunity for them to start from scratch and to do the transition their own way,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center. With the Brotherhood sidelined, liberal opposition leaders will have a shot at pushing a constitution that suits their interests, Hamid said. They will be able to run in elections again, against a weakened conglomerate of Islamists.
But they will also have to compete with a host of other actors on the nation’s revised political stage. That includes the powerful military generals, who, during their tenure as rulers in 2011, proved to be repressive and alienated many of the ideals the liberals said they stood for.
The military blocked economic reform efforts, sent thousands of civilians before closed military tribunals and enabled elections before the drafting of a new constitution — a chronology that some liberals blame for the Islamists’ later domination of the political process.
Liberal leaders will also have to negotiate governance with Mansour as well as members of Mubarak’s ousted regime who proved “very important” in forcing Morsi’s ouster and who, like the liberal opposition, have seen an opportunity for rebirth, said Hamid.
Abdullah Mansour, a leader of the Tamarod activist group — which brought thousands into the streets last weekend — said his group is confident that it gained the right to influence the new government when it gathered 22 million signatures in a no-confidence vote against Morsi, an assertion that was impossible to confirm.
Tamarod leaders say they have selected Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate and former head of International Atomic Energy Agency, to represent them in governance. But ElBaradei, who was once labeled elitist in the nation’s media and who struggled to find a grass-roots following in the wake of Mubarak’s fall, may face an uphill battle.
And the Islamists are not gone. “We will not compromise or leave the streets until #Egypt’s #Legitimacy is restored by reinstating its democratically elected Prez,” Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad tweeted Friday, as thousands of Morsi supporters took to the streets in protest, later clashing with the president’s opponents in violence that left at least 30 people dead nationwide.
The Nour party — Egypt’s largest Salafist party — whose members subscribe to a puritanical interpretation of Islam and have called for the implementation of Islamic law, have also carefully navigated Morsi’s fall. The party’s leader retracted his support for Morsi days before the president’s ouster, then stood with Sissi, along with liberal leaders and religious clerics, as Sissi announced Morsi’s dismissal.
The party remains one of Egypt’s best organized, and some analysts predict it will simply replace the Brotherhood as a leader in future polls.
Hamid, of the Brookings Doha Center, said there’s no telling who or what could divide the country next.
“I think you also have to keep in mind that Egyptian politics is so fluid. People who hate each other now can shift in a year,” he said. “Just because it seems the Brotherhood is on its way out now doesn’t mean that will be the case in a year.”
William Booth, Michael Birnbaum and Lara El Gibaly contributed to this report.