Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has campaigned on a platform that, vague as it is, seems to rule out inclusiveness. It is not simply his words for the Brotherhood, harsh as they are - he seems to verge on expressing the paternalistic view that he knows Egyptians' needs and therefore will not require a democratic process for them to inform and guide him. Will he reverse himself in office?

There will certainly be strong pressures for him to do so. An attempt to turn his popular mandate into a blank check to rule as he sees fit is likely to fail. There are four factors that might make some kind of reconciliation necessary.

Nathan J. Brown
Brown, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, is a distinguished scholar and author of six well-received books on Arab politics.
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In order to govern effectively, Sisi will need support from a more politicised and active society. His popular support is broad but shallow; he has no movement, party, or organised constituency behind him. If he offers most actors a seat at the table, he might be able to secure their support for his policies.

Second, the Egyptian state apparatus is powerful, entrenched, and difficult to control. The only way to counterbalance the security and the judiciary, for instance, is with broad popular support.

Third, the security environment has deteriorated since the July 2012 coup and Egypt's leaders are (or should be) learning the shortcomings of a purely military strategy. Political inclusiveness might be the only way to dry up support for those pursuing a violent path.

Fourth, Egypt desperately needs international investment from the private sector and diplomatic support if it is going to make any progress on the economic front; few investors or powerful governments are likely to want to sink much economic or political capital into a leadership that appears isolated and authoritarian.

Yet despite all these factors, full reconciliation seems unlikely at present. Of course, Sisi will make polite noises upon taking office, but those will likely remain limited and symbolic. Even if Sisi wished to do more, it is not clear that he can force the state apparatus (especially the security forces) to follow his path. And the opposition may be just as difficult. The collective memory of martyrdom so prominent in some circles in Egypt is simply not shared with most of the society.

In Egypt, “reconciliation” has become an unspeakable word. In international circles, the need for inclusion is all one hears. And that will be a problem for Egypt - not only is the country deeply divided but its leaders will operate under an international cloud because of the path they have chosen.

This article was originally published in Al Jazeera.