As Egyptians go to the polls this Wednesday and Thursday, there are 51 million eligible voters, but how would they actually vote?
If left to the US design and the remnants of the old regime they would like to see Moussa and Shafiq finish as the top two contenders, claiming that the revolutionary votes were scattered over Abol Fotouh, Mursi, Sabahi and others. In this scenario it is hoped that Egyptians would flock to Moussa who would rout Shafiq in the second round and people would then breathe a sigh of relief, as Moussa would now claim the mantle of the revolution, the one who defeated Mubarak's candidate. According to a Norwegian source, two war rooms were created in the American Embassy in Cairo and in the State Department, which are working around the clock in order to engender this outcome. Several American and European experts have already joined the Moussa campaign team running an American style aggressive campaign. When the Senate's foreign relations committee chairman Sen. John Kerry visited Cairo last month, the only presidential candidate he visited was Amr Moussa, a message not lost on the Egyptian electorate.
On May 10, a four-hour debate between Moussa and Abol Fotouh was aired on several TV channels and watched by tens of millions across the Arab World. Moussa attacked his opponent as a closeted Brotherhood member who would be a threat to freedoms, while Abol Fotouh attacked Moussa as the candidate favored by the remnants of Mubarak's regime. In one telling exchange regarding Israeli policy, Abol Fotouh declared that Israel was an enemy relying on aggression to further its policies in the region and that he would unconditionally support the Palestinian struggle, while Moussa described it as an out-of-control rival that needs to be brought back to negotiate a settlement within the two-state solution framework.
But if there is any indication of how Egyptians might vote in a free and fair election it is in the 586,000 Egyptian registered voters who live abroad or make up about 1 percent of the electorate. This block of voters started to vote on May 11 and concluded on May 17. Over 55 percent, or about 320,000 Egyptians have voted in 140 cities around the world, including five cities across the U.S. Excluding Saudi Arabia (with over 40 percent of the Egyptian electorate abroad and where the electorate is much more conservative than any other), independent candidate Abol Fotouh and MB's Mursi were first and second (garnering 46,000 and 39,000 votes) respectively. But once the votes from Saudi Arabia were counted Mursi received 33 percent (or about 107,000) of the total votes abroad followed by Abol Fotouh at 26 percent (or about 82,000). All other candidates were significantly behind as Sabahi, Moussa, and Shafiq received 14, 12, and 7 percent respectively.
If such a trend continues, then the U.S.-backed scheme will have failed miserably and the second round runoff will be between a current and former Muslim Brotherhood members. If the elections to be held on May 23 and 24 are free and fair, and no one candidate exceeds 50 percent of the vote, then most of the votes of the eliminated candidates in the second round on June 16 and 17 would probably go to Abol Fotouh, making him the first president of the post-Mubarak Egypt -- a big if since the remnants, the U.S. and Israel are not about to concede -- not yet.