A few hours after he had been excluded from the presidential race, Muslim Brotherhood strongman Khairat al-Shater addressed the media with a new defiant discourse. The 62-year-old businessman contended that the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) is dominated by Hosni Mubarak's judges, decried a legal provision granting the commission's decisions full immunity against appeals, and alleged that the generals seek to reproduce the old regime.
In a news conference last week, Shater pointed out the paradox of being excluded from the race because a military tribunal jailed him in 2007 for his opposition of the ousted president (he was convicted on various charges including money laundering and providing university students with arms). Barring a political opponent from running for president after a sweeping revolt that deposed a dictator makes no sense. But Shater’s group has contributed immensely to sowing the seeds of the current impasse that culminated in his exclusion, with a PEC that Shater himself deems unfair and a politically empowered military. The 84-year-old organization is reaping the fruit of endorsing a military-set transitional path that ostensibly favored Islamists but actually empowered no one but the generals.