The Arab world has never seen anything quite like Sunday's excruciatingly delayed announcement that the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed el-Morsi had won Egypt's Presidential election. The enormous outburst of enthusiasm in Tahrir after Morsi's victory was announced -- and the rapid resurgence of Egypt's stock exchange -- suggests how narrowly Egypt escaped the complete collapse of its political process. This isn't the time for silly debates about "who lost Egypt," since against all odds Egypt isn't lost. On the contrary, it has just very, very narrowly avoided complete disaster --- and for all the problems which Morsi's victory poses to Egypt and to the international community, it at least gives Egypt another chance at a successful political transition which only a few days ago seemed completely lost.
Outside of the Brotherhood itself, this popular response was more a celebration of Shafik's defeat than of Morsi's victory. The signs leading up to the announcement strongly suggested that the SCAF had carried out a "soft coup" aborting its promised transition to civilian rule. The dissolution of Parliament and the issuing of the controversial constitutional annex, along with the long delay in releasing the results and the rampaging rumors of the deployment of military forces and warnings of Brotherhood intrigues, all pointed to the announcement of a Shafik victory.Indeed. Morsi may prove to be a disaster, a tyrant, a nonentity, or he may be preoccupied by a long struggle with SCAF, but the alternative was starting to look like renewed violence. Do read Marc's entire piece.