Ahmed Shafiq, 2012
Egypt's 2012 presidential election wasn't just the country's first since longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down -- it was also the first time in history that its citizens got to choose their leader in a free and fair ballot.
The choice in the June runoff election couldn't have been starker: Voters went to the polls to cast their ballots for either long-time Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsy or longtime Mubarak ally and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq. Morsy was declared the winner on June 24, capturing 52 percent of the vote to Shafiq's 48 percent.
The election's aftermath would have been the perfect opportunity for Shafiq to concede gracefully, signaling to his supporters that the popular will and democratic norms must be respected. Instead, when Shafiq supporters looked around for their standard-bearer in the days following the campaign, he was nowhere to be found. Not only did he not deliver a concession speech, he fled to the Persian Gulf less than 48 hours after the results were announced.
The real reaction to Shafiq's defeat was delivered by his campaign staff in Cairo, who murmured darkly about a conspiracy to steal the election and attacked the newly elected president. "I will no longer be proud to be Egyptian under a country led by the Muslim Brotherhood's Morsy," said one disgruntled advisor. "I want to leave Egypt as soon as possible."