Arab Spring ends with two constitutions possible in Egypt

After a tense weekend in Egypt, the country is faced with the prospect of two parliaments and two constitutions, as many people in the trouble nation see the Arab Spring as a distant memory.

In February 2011, a popular uprising ousted long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak, in an action that became a worldwide event.

But in recent months, the Muslim Brotherhood and the nation’s military rulers couldn’t reach an accommodation as it became clear the Brotherhood would have a strong say in parliament and in selecting people who would write the country’s new constitution.

Late last week, the military undertook what is being called a “soft coup,” declaring parliament invalid and allowing a military-backed candidate to oppose the Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi, in this weekend’s presidential run-off election.

It didn’t matter, as Morsi has apparently won the election (the official vote count will be announced by Thursday).

Instead, the military declared it would appoint its own panel to write the new constitution and it stripped the president-elect of most of the position’s previous powers. The military will also act as Egypt’s version of Congress, for now.

The Muslim Brotherhood responded with a statement that it would reconvene the old parliament and write its own constitution.

The military is expected to hand over what presidential powers remain to Morsi in several weeks.

Stuck in the middle are the young, secular activists who forced Mubarak from power, and who don’t have an allegiance to the military or the Muslim Brotherhood.

The crisis should also become part of the ongoing presidential campaign in the United States, since GOP leaders criticized President Barack Obama during the Arab Spring.

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