Here are the final independent segments of my map of the Egyptian Presidential Election final round held on June 16-17, in which Muhammad Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood won over former Air Force General and Mubarak’s last Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq. These two maps show the remainder of agricultural Upper Egypt until the High Dam at Aswan, and they represent a further 3 million of the 25 million votes cast in the election. The last 500,000 votes, which I have not yet mapped, were in remote and small desert oasis towns and seaside resorts on the Mediterranean and Red Seas. I will include these only in my upcoming, national-scale amalgamation of my prior maps. I have updated the online spreadsheet that contains the full data set for the districts connected to the numbers on the map.
The dynamics on this map are similar to those of my map of “Middle Egypt,” which I posted previously. Most of Asyut and northern Sohag were as strongly supportive of Mursi as Minya or Bani Suef (but not Al-Fayoum, where Mursi received an average 78% of the vote). Asyut was the home base of the large radical fundamentalist Islamist movement Al-Gamaʿa Al-Islamiyya, which was responsible for terrorist attacks on the government during the 1980s and early 1990s. The state eventually succeeded in breaking the organization through a militarized security crackdown. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the group wrote a book series from prison denying the legitimacy of violent Jihad against the state to distance themselves from their former ally, current Al-Qaʿida leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri (Omar Ashour is the expert on this process). Even since the revolution, these aging ex-jihadis, in a wary standoff with the “deep state,” are refraining from direct political participation. Their sole symbolic political cause is a protest at the U.S. Embassy for the release of former member “Blind Shaykh” ʿUmar ʿAbdel Rahman, who was sentenced to life in prison in US court in 1996 for a variety of plots to attack public monuments. President Mursi sought to appease the Salafists and other Islamists more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood in his Tahrir rally speech the day before his inauguration by promising (again, symbolically) to negotiate with the US for his release. Last week, Mursi released most of the Al-Gamaʿa Al-Islamiyya leaders remaining in prison in Egypt, including ʿAbbud Al-Zumur, who was involved in President Sadat’s assassination in 1981, and Ayman Al-Zawahiri’s brother, Muhammad.
Although the vast majority of residents of Asyut do not support violent insurrection against the state, it is clear that a conservative Salafi interpretation of Islam is widespread among Muslims, lending support to the Islamist candidate Mursi. However, the provincial capitals (usually the smaller districts) always reveal more support for Shafiq, and occasionally even a majority for him.
Far Upper Egypt is again a different story. The governorates of Luxor and Aswan are the site of the most famous Pharaonic monuments and therefore the recipients of large state investments in the tourism industry. These areas, and Qena, also have a large Christian population. As a result, the vote in this area was split 52% Mursi to 48% Shafiq, and Shafiq received 60% in the city of Luxor. Media coverage of the election in these areas was surprisingly sparse compared to more contentious governorates like Al-Menoufiya or Al-Fayoum, so I don’t have much to add here.
Mursi is also trying to shore up public confidence and political support in these areas. Last week, he toured Luxor and made a public commitment to enforce security so the tourism industry will recover from low arrivals in the past year and a half. Commentators have also noted the Muslim Brotherhood is soft-pedaling its Islamist interests in restricting the sale of alcohol and gender mixing at beaches for the same purpose.