(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) ON JUNE 24, Tahrir's revolutionaries once again returned to their favourite spot, to eagerly wait for the results of the presidential elections. And when the Presidential Election Commission announced Muslim Brotherhood's (MB) Mohammed Mursi victory with a 51.73% - outstripping Mubarak's former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq by a narrow margin of nearly 3.5% - a wave of jubilation swept the crowd.
To ordinary Egyptians, it appears that Spring has finally borne its fruit. It's undeniable that despite the plethora of roadblocks in the path towards democratisation, Egypt has come a long way. Mohammed Mursi is Egypt's first democratically elected President. His triumph over his presidential rival Ahmed Shafiq signifies a clear political rupture from the old order of Mubarak's lackeys. These developments are nothing short of historic and represent significant gains for people power, which foundered the very roots of dictatorship in Egypt at the turn of 2011.
But as Egyptians celebrate in the wake of Mursi's success, the country's future remains still quite uncertain. Democratisation in the land of the Nile is now, more than ever, contingent on cooperation between the omnipotent military and the Islamists. And this will be a tough task. On June 16, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), backed by the judiciary's ruling - dissolved Egypt's first democratically elected parliament, restored its own legislative authority and even asserted its role in the drafting the new constitution. The step has been widely criticised as a move to limit presidential powers and enhance the military's autonomy to avoid civilian scrutiny. There's a big possibility that Mursi will have to, initially, take charge of premiership without the existence of a legislative body and with the rules of the game pre-defined by the self-aggrandising military. So, even though international observers have deemed Egypt's presidential elections relatively free and fair, it's still doubtful whether democracy, too, will have a free and fair future.
Moreover, it's still questionable whether the democratic process will be a stable one. Unfortunately, the current era of representative rule in Egypt is heralded by decades of conflict and bad blood between the MB and the armed forces. And thus it's difficult to say whether the country's nascent democrats can successfully negotiate with the armed forces, which are strongly inclined towards upholding geo-strategic and economic interests of the fallen Mubarak regime. After all, the MB was brutally crushed by the army during the Islamist insurgency of the 1990s. And the ideological stance of the party -its overt antipathy towards Israel and the US - clearly contradicts the military's strategic interests.
But no matter how odd a couple the Scaf and the Islamists are, both sides will have to make compromises to make democracy work. Because if they fail to do so, Egypt might have to go through yet another phase of political turmoil.