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Sun May 24 15:04:45 SAST 2015

Morsi's inclusive approach right step in rebuilding Egypt

The Times Editorial | 28 June, 2012 00:03
Muslim Brotherhood's president-elect Mohamed Morsi speaks during his first televised address to the nation in this still image from a video, in Cairo June 24, 2012.
Image by: HANDOUT / REUTERS

Egypt's president-elect, Mohamed Morsi, has confounded many of his critics by extending an invitation to liberals, Tahrir Square revolutionaries, Christians and women to join his new Islamist-led government.

With his inclusive, reconciliatory approach, the moderate leader of the Muslim Brotherhood - who was jailed by the Mubarak regime, which banned the brotherhood - appears to be taking a leaf out of Nelson Mandela's book.

On Sunday, after a protracted delay that deepened fears that the ruling military council was determined to cling to power, Morsi was finally declared the winner of the first truly free presidential election in Egypt's long history.

By extending an olive branch to the political opposition and by wooing Christians - despite a divisive election campaign that pitted him against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of ousted president Hosni Mubarak - Morsi appears to be winning over some of his toughest critics, who feared that his brotherhood would attempt to turn Egypt into a fundamentalist Islamist state.

In a break with the winner-takes-all approach to modern elections, Morsi favours a government of national unity. He has pledged to appoint a Christian and a woman as vice-presidents, and has indicated that the prime minister's post will be filled by an independent.

The president-elect, who will be sworn in this weekend, has been courting people of the stature of Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading pro-democracy advocate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The wisdom of his approach is obvious: no one political party can fix Egypt's formidable problems. The generals are reluctant to hand over full powers to a civilian government despite a protracted, multi-layered electoral process since Mubarak's overthrow more than a year ago, the once powerful economy, with its thriving tourism sector, is in tatters, and security remains a major concern.

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