Two years ago Egypt stunningly experienced its first truly free, competitive presidential elections. They managed to somehow be as exciting as they were nerve-racking (and painfully hard to predict), not only for Egypt and the region but internationally.
Candidates represented the breadth of the political spectrum. There was the old guard, such as former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman (who suffered a highly questionable last-minute disqualification), former Mubarak Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and — the presumptive winner at the time — Mubarak former Foreign Minister and former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa. There were Islamists, including the more extreme Salafist Hazem Abu Ismail (also disqualified to the relieved sigh of many), the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi and more moderate figures like lawyer and “Islamic thinker” Selim el-Awwa. On the secular revolutionary front there were candidates such as Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahi, rights and labor lawyer Khaled Ali and leftist Abul-Ezz el-Hariri. Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, a former Brotherhood leader, tried to run on a nonideological national unity platform and ran a unique campaign that managed to rally a wide diversity of figures behind him.