Monday 23 October 2017

Robert Fisk: President Morsi, a rigged ballot and a fox's tale that has all of Cairo abuzz

THERE is a fox in Tahrir Square. Bushy tailed and thickly furred, he claims to hear everything. And this is what he says: that 50.7 per cent of Egyptian voters cast their ballot for Mubarak's former Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, in last month's elections; that only 49.3 per cent voted for Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party; but that the military were so fearful of the hundreds of thousands of Brotherhood supporters who would gather in Tahrir Square they gave the victory to Morsi.

Now foxes can be deceitful. But this is a well-connected fox and he claims that Morsi actually met four leading members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) in Egypt four days before the election results were proclaimed and that he agreed to accept his presidency before the constitutional court rather than the newly dissolved parliament – which is exactly what he did on Saturday. He says there will be another election in a year's time, although I have my doubts.

Now behind this piece of Reynard-gossip is a further piece of information – shattering if true – that the Egyptian army's intelligence service is outraged by the behaviour of some members of the Scaf (in particular, the four who supposedly met Morsi) and wants a mini-revolution to get rid of officers whom it believes to be corrupt. These young soldiers call themselves the New Liberal Officers – a different version of the Free Officers Movement which overthrew the corrupt King Farouk way back in 1952.

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