Former minister Yossi Beilin revealed in a column published in the Israel Hayom daily on Sunday that the Egyptian army rigged the results of last year’s presidential elections, in which Islamist Mohammed Morsi was declared the winner.
“An Egyptian official told me in person that the army rigged the presidential elections in June 2012, fearing widespread riots should the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohammed Morsi, lose the race,” wrote Beilin.
The source who asked to remain anonymous told Beilin that former president Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, won the race “by a narrow margin. But the army generals -- wanting to ensure that law and order would be upheld following the elections -- feared that if Morsi was defeated, the Muslim Brotherhood would refuse to recognize the results and would end up conducting themselves just as they are now.”
“The official results, 51.73% for Morsi and 48.27% for Shafiq, were almost the exact reversal of what actually happened at the polls,” wrote Beilin.
“After the results were published, we barely heard any calls for protest or opposition among the secular-liberals, while on the religious side -- loyal either to the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafi parties -- voters were happy with their achievement,” he added.
According to Beilin, “Officials thought that the inexperienced Morsi would accept help from the army and would avoid crossing any red lines -- regarding Israel, for example. In reality, what happened was a combination of a pathetic lack of management skills and a string of efforts to rule by the same ideological orientation espoused by a quarter of Egypt's population. Morsi tried running the operation with the help of several associates who were completely incapable of managing anything.”
“Many of Col. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's fellow generals,” he wrote, “tried to convince him to spring to action several months ago already, but Sissi wanted to give Morsi, who favored Sissi over other generals as defense minister and commander in chief of the armed forces, the opportunity to prove that what had happened stemmed from the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood president was an amateur.”
On the Muslim Brotherhood's first anniversary in power, explained Beilin, according to his source, “Sissi thought that public demonstrations would be a fitting background to oust the man who led the group, if Morsi refused to meet the army's unequivocal demands. Morsi indeed rejected the demands, included calling for early presidential elections. He acted in a manner that would have far-reaching consequences, the most significant of which was a military coup before the judicial system was adjusted, making it harder to reinstate the deposed president.”
“This same official told me that Sissi did not foresee so many casualties in clashes with Morsi supporters, adding that the general was unwavering in his conviction that demonstrators must be cleared from the squares where they were squatting. And he does not intend to let them come back,” stressed Beilin.
On Sunday, Sissi clarified that the Egyptian government would not "kneel” in the face of violence.
"Whoever imagines violence will make the state and Egyptians kneel must reconsider; we will never be silent in the face of the destruction of the country," he said in a statement posted on Facebook.
He also said, however, that his message to Morsi supporters was that there was "room for everyone in Egypt" and the military had no intention to seize power.
The Egyptian government announced on Saturday that it had begun deliberations on whether to ban the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the latest violence in the country.
Such a ban, which authorities say is rooted in the group's use of violence, would be a repeat to the decades-long power struggle between the state and the Brotherhood.