Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood organized a 760-km (470-mile)-long human chain from Cairo to Aswan of supporters (left) holding posters and wearing T-shirts bearing the image of Mohamed Mursi, the group’s candidate in next week’s presidential election. The “show of strength” by the Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party ahead of the poll highlights the group’s prodigious organizational capacity.
But a win for Mursi or Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, would increase the risk of violent confrontation, analysts warned today.
The Islamist group’s electoral performance and grass-roots networks provide a stark contrast to the inchoate and disorganized ranks of liberal and secular democrats, demonstrating “the disarray of the protest movement that called for a democratic transformation in the Arab world’s most populous nation.”
A new poll suggests that potential new bases of support may be opening up for democratic forces as Egyptians exhibit growing disillusion with Islamist politics.
Support for the Brotherhood fell from 63% in February to 42% in April, while the group’s FJP also fell from 67% to 43% over the same period, according to a newly-released Gallup poll. The ultraconservative Salafists witnessed a similar – if less dramatic – decline from 37% to 25%, with the Salafist Nour Party falling from 40% to 30%.