Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammad Morsi’s victory in the presidential election widens Egypt’s democratic opening by a crucial, if narrow, margin. But a long and difficult struggle lies ahead before democratically elected civilian leaders can assert meaningful authority over the country’s armed forces. Without this, future governments will lack the genuine autonomy to devise and implement policies, and will remain chronically unstable.
Yet former regime supporters, illiberal secular politicians, and even some liberal figures are confident that Morsi will last no more than a year, let alone a full four-year term. They further expect the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to manipulate the drafting of the new constitution and the election of a new parliament in the coming months so as to ensure that Morsi will be no more than an interim president. Should the SCAF succeed, Egypt will come under indefinite military custodianship.