As Egypt’s presidential elections grow closer, parties are beginning to choose sides. In a moment to celebrate, however, Egypt hosted its first ever televised presidential debate. The two leading candidates squared off for nearly four hours in an effort to win the endorsement of ordinary citizens.
One of these candidates, the revolutionary somewhat liberal leaning Islamist, received the endorsement of the largest Salafi political party. Yet a debate non-participant, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, received the endorsement of non-political Salafis.
As for the disqualified populist Salafi presidential candidate himself, he has promised to declare his endorsement over the weekend. His large constituency may either decide or further complicate the split inside the newly politicized Salafi camp.
God, give wisdom to the Salafis. Their desire is for your law to be honored. Their interpretation is at odds with most other Egyptians, but for many if not most, their motivation is pure and their sincerity unmistaken. Honor them; guide and lead them in their choice.
Give wisdom to their leaders as well, who may or may not be as pure. As they begin to play the games of politics, may they not cross the thin line into manipulation and hypocrisy.
As for the other main candidate, it may be harder to receive endorsement. The long time semi-member of Mubarak’s administration, he represents the popular wish for a strong executive and a return to stability. Yet any political group may find it hard to endorse such a non-revolutionary figure.
One of the speculated but ever-unspoken endorsements is that of the ruling military council. They have pledged neutrality. May they honor their word. There is frequent criticism of their intentions on the part of revolutionaries, and increasingly from the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet their pledge to honor the revolution and lead the transition is nearly at its close. May they cede power peacefully, in accordance with the will of the people.
God, grant Egyptians a rapid education in politics, and bolster their resolve to not grow disillusioned. Keep the people from surrendering their affairs to others; may they grasp their agency from local to national. May they vote as informed citizens.
The revolution was conducted as close to the ideal as possible, God. May it now close with a result as close to the ideal as well. So much is still unresolved, and with a yet unwritten constitution, more troubles are surely expected.
Give Egypt the best, God. May she not settle, nor tear herself apart in conflict. Give Egypt a good president, and a good government.
Give her peace, stability, and sovereignty.