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Comparative 'Arab Springs'?

The seemingly inevitable election of Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt and the successful ratification of a viable constitution in Tunisia show two different sides of the "Arab Spring."
(L to R) Tunisia's National Assembly President Mustapha Ben Jaafar, President Moncef Marzouki and outgoing Prime Minister Ali Larayedh pose after signing the country's new constitution in Tunis January 27, 2014. Marzouki and the head of the National Assembly signed Tunisia's new constitution on Monday, enshrining one of its last steps toward full democracy after a 2011 uprising that inspired the Arab Spring. REUTERS/Anis Mili (TUNISIA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX17WYC

Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been promoted to the rank of field marshal by acting Egyptian President Adly Mansour, and the military establishment has just acted as if it were a party nominating a presidential candidate. While the feasibility of other candidates might emerge, it appears that an impressive majority will elect the general as president in April. If Sisi is elected, Gen. Sedki Sobhi is the candidate to succeed him as minister of defense.

The candidacy of Sisi has been expected for a long time; it seems that presidents of the republic in Egypt will continue to be from the army. For this reason, significant elements of the liberal, democratic and civil rights movements in Egypt seem — as a matter of principle — reluctant to endorse Sisi’s candidacy. While there is no doubt that Sisi enjoys widespread support outside of the Muslim Brotherhood, his election being perceived as a foregone conclusion blurs the concept of an “Arab Spring” happening in Egypt.

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