Region awaits Egypt's next president

June 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM
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CAIRO, June 13 (UPI) -- Middle East observers expressed concern about what sort of Egypt would evolve from elections pitting an Islamist leader against a former regime official.

A second round of voting in Egypt is scheduled over two days beginning Saturday. Mohammed Morsi, chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, squares off against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve in the administration of Hosni Mubarak.

Former Deputy Foreign Minister Qassem al-Masri told al-Arabiya that Egyptian expatriates in the Middle East have strong opinions in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. Nevertheless, he said maintaining the status quo in terms of foreign policy was good for the region.

"That is why they would prefer a president who is more or less an extension of the old regime," he said.

Hassan Abu Taleb, a consultant at a Cairo's al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told the news service that most regional leaders are concerned more about politics than individual leaders.

"(Persian) Gulf nations are worried about how Egypt's foreign policy will be run in the future regardless of who will come to power," he said.

The role of the first democratically elected president of Egypt won't be defined clearly until lawmakers develop a new constitution, however.

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