And the winner of Egypt's presidential election is...the military
The military council ruling Egypt has already won the presidential race. That's because no matter who is elected, they will have to serve under a parliament elected by rules set down by the military, act under a constitution that will be drawn up by an assembly appointed by the military, and likely constrained to act by laws approved by the military.
Egyptians voted on Saturday in the first free presidential election in their history that for many offers a choice of the lesser of two evils - a military man who served as prime minister under deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak or an Islamist who says he is running for God.
Reeling from a court order two days ago to dissolve a new parliament dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, many question whether the generals who pushed aside their fellow officer Mubarak last year to appease the prodemocracy protests of the Arab Spring will honour a pledge to let civilians rule.
With neither a parliament nor a new constitution in place to define the president's powers, Saturday and Sunday's run-off vote will not settle the matter. Whoever wins, the army retains the upper hand. A Shafik presidency means a man steeped in military tradition will be back in charge. If Morsy wins, the military can still influence how much executive authority he has in the yet-tobe-written constitution.
Many fear the Brotherhood will not accept a defeat quietly and Shafik's win could touch off a new turmoil on the streets, forcing the army to take sides to impose order and further unsettling the state.
Some of Egypt's 50 million eligible voters say they will despoil their ballots rather than back Ahmed Shafik , 70, a former air force commander who was Mubarak's last PM, or Mohammed Morsy , 60, of the Brotherhood.
Is this better than an Islamist takeover? Yes, but don't try to tell that to the young activists who bled and sometimes died for what they believed was a revolution. The military "soft coup" that dissolved parliament may have forestalled a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, but it also made a lot of these younger Egyptians even more cynical than they were previously.
The more things change...