Egypt’s elections do not simply mark a return to the status quo
In the Islamist stronghold of Alexandria, the two Islamist candidates, Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh and Mohamed Morsi, managed only 37% between them. In areas of the delta long considered to be the Brotherhood’s electoral fortresses, their official candidate trailed second, third or even fourth. And in the sprawling, informal Cairo neighbourhood of Imbaba – known as the “Islamic emirate of Imbaba” in the early 1990s, when Egypt’s government sent in the army to clear out what they believed had become a state-within-a-state for Islamic militants at the heart of the Egyptian capital – secular nationalist Hamdeen Sabahi romped home to victory. Several contradictory trends are becoming apparent within Egyptian electoral politics, but none of them represent an unreconstructed return to a timeless status quo.