After the confetti is swept away from Tahrir Square where thousands of Egyptians celebrated the victory of Mohammed Morsi Sunday evening, the new Egyptian president will face a grim and divided country in dire need of repair.
“The revolution is still in the country!” chanted Muslim Brotherhood members in a press conference following the official announcement. The Freedom and Justice Party’s Facebook page still reads “the revolution continues.” It will take time for the Brotherhood to assume its leadership role after 84 years in Egypt’s opposition.
The military dispersed the democratically elected parliament and the constitutional assembly formed by it, taking on legislative powers. Who’s to say it won’t do the same for the president?
The first challenge will be in pacifying the 48.3% of the Egyptian electorate who voted for Morsi’s opponent, Ahmed Shafiq. Although the Shafiq camp – backed by the ruling military establishment – will be hard pressed to claim election fraud, the close result highlights the deep rift in Egyptian society, almost down the middle, between those who yearn for the stability and personal security of old and those who demand change, at any price.