The Muslim Brotherhood
Barely a news report or panel of pundits passes without the Big Question coming up: will the “largest opposition party” the Muslim Brotherhood “take over”? Mesmerised by their “20% electoral support” of 2005, they can’t see that it will now be vastly changed by all the other voting choices people will have.
In all the discussions the figure of 20% is given for the MB’s electoral support. But this wasn’t a fifth of the electorate, it was a fifth of a pitiful turnout of just a quarter of the electorate, which made it just one in twenty or 5% of the whole electorate, and that was six years ago. It’s really anybody’s guess what their post-revolution vote on a bigger turnout might be.
It’s little wonder that there’s ignorance and speculation about the MB’s own intentions, as not many outsiders have talked to them, and their leaders have spent several years under lock and key. Washington bans its diplomats from even meeting the MB’s representatives.
They could have observed, over the past two weeks, that the MB has been happy to present a low profile, to avoid pushing its own views or slogans or even appearing as a distinct contingent, that it has acted together with others and fully supported the common aims and tactics.
The way they have conducted themselves will have done them no harm, perhaps with the exception of the brief talks they had with Omar Suleyman. But acting much like everyone else is not going to translate into votes as against other political, social and ideological forces within the struggle.
When the revolution gets to the stage of drawing up a Constitution, the crucial question will lie in how this proposed document defines the relation of the state and organised religion.
See also The Muslim Brotherhood uncovered, interview and analysis in The Guardian
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