Egyptians Go to the Polls

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Egyptians will go to the polls on Monday to take the first of several steps in voting for a new parliament. Up to 30 million of the nation’s 50 million eligible voters may take part in what one Western observer is calling a needlessly “complicated, contradictory and non-transparent” process. And with the threat of violence hanging over the election, it is believed by most observers that any reduction in turnout will almost certainly help the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).

The bewildering array of dozens of political parties will field up to 7,000 candidates for the 498-member “People’s Assembly,” or lower house of the new parliament. Further elections in January will fill out the upper house, or Shura Council, with the voting for a new president sometime after that.

With thousands of young Egyptians occupying Tahrir Square, there is fear that violence may break out once again. Thousands of protestors were injured last week while 42 died in street clashes with the military. Although relative peace reigned in the square over the weekend, there is no guarantee that the youthful demonstrators won’t take out their frustration at what they see as a corrupt process by trying to stop the election from going forward. Their demands are simple; no elections until there is an end to military rule and the transfer of power to a civilian council to guide the country through the transition to democracy. There is no chance of that happening — not with the Muslim Brotherhood cautiously backing the military’s plan for parliamentary elections.

Indeed, after initially backing the protestors, the Brotherhood then pulled out of Tahrir Square and left it to the youthful demonstrators who organized the protests that overthrew Hosni Mubarak early this year. The young activists are calling for elections to be delayed until January, but the FJP is supporting the military’s position that the vote should go forward as planned. This has engendered some bitterness among activists who see the Brotherhood’s support of the military as a cynical move to assure that the largest percentage of the vote will fall to the Islamist group.

“Even without Tahrir, there are a million ways this could be a disaster,” said one Western observer. He is hardly exaggerating. The vote will be held for two days — a twist only announced on the election commission’s Facebook page last Friday. The first round of voting will be for certain sections of the country only. The rest of the nation will vote on two days in December. There will also be runoff elections for those seats where no candidate receives a majority.

The ballot process itself is excruciatingly complex. As Joshua Hersh notes, “Once in the booth, voters will have to select a party list, as well as two independent candidates. If they do not choose two independents, their entire vote will be invalidated, a technicality that few voters seem to be aware of.”

The “party lists” are incredibly confusing:

Two-thirds of the assembly are elected using a complex, closed proportional list system via 46 multiseat districts, while the remaining third, or 166, of the members are elected via 83 two-seat constituencies. In both cases, half of the elected members must be classified as “workers and farmers” (see Eligibility, below).

Voters cast two ballots, the first for one candidate list of their choice, and the second for the two-seat constituency where they choose two candidates.

Needless to say, experienced international election observers are appalled. “If we had to do it over again, I think it would be better if the rules weren’t changing every day — even up to today,” said Les Campbell, an observer with the National Democratic Institute. Said another observer, “The larger problem is that many procedures for the actual conduct of the voting remain undefined and could be interpreted and implemented differently in every polling center.”

But most of the international observers are taking a hands-off approach. “I’ll let the Egyptians define what is legitimate or not. What we can do is amplify whatever that decision is. If the politicians are willing to compete, we should be willing to observe. But we will not pull punches on what we see,” said Campbell.

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  • PhillipGaley

    "Egyptians Go to the Polls"? Yeah, . . . so, what of it? As a nation, Egypt is corrupt or Moslem, . . . and "a broken reed, upon which, whoever leans shall be pierced through his hand."—and while it has been pointed out that, that saying by Rebshakah (?) was perhaps not by him, intended as prophecy, at the time it was common knowledge, and has since then prove to be prophetic. For example, at the commencement of hostilities in 1947, the Egyptians advised the Palestinian Arabs to abandon their homes in Gaza, being promised to have all returned plus all the boodle from the Jews when, in just a few days or not more than a few weeks, they should then have been crushed—driven into the sea, . . .
    From the administrative evil seeping into and overcoming Egyptian culture consistent with the massive bureaucratic public works projects which construction of the pyramids was, Egypt never recovered, . . . to be whole, healthy and productive—thus providing space and worth for elections, in general—Egyptian society has to be rearranged in a way which—until such occurrence—no mere election is able to effect, . . .
    The best thing which can be done is, to keep the Bible from the Egyptians—that way, though in continuance as irascible, they'll be more easily managed because, they'll never learn how to think in worthwhile and strong conceptions, . . .

  • StephenD

    We tipped our hand through Hillary saying last week how she looks forward to working with the M.B. To me all this means is we will open our tax dollars up to them to do their thing in hopes they'll eat us last. It grows weary knowing we have fools willing to give away the store for a kiss and a promise.

  • voted against carter

    ' TAQIYYA '
    Do your own research about it if you don't know what this means.

    i s l a m IS EVIL. PERIOD.

    i s l a m strives for world domination.

    The q u r a n commands m u s l i m s to exercise jihad.

    The q u e r n commands muslims to establish s h a r i a h law.

    The q u e r n commands m u s l i m s to impose i s l a m on the entire world.

    i s l a m is NOT a religion, it IS a totalitarian ideology.

    i s l a m IS and has remained a death cult from its beginnings.

    i s l a m wants to dominate all aspects of life, from the cradle to the grave.

    s h a r i a h law is a law that controls every detail of life in a i s l a m i c society.

    From civic- and family law to criminal law.

    It determines how one should eat, dress and even use the toilet.

    Oppression of women is good, drinking alcohol is bad.

    The core of the q u r a n is the call to j i h a d.

    J i h a d means a lot of things and is a r a b i c for battle.

    i s l a m means submission, there cannot be any mistake about its goal.

    i s l a m and freedom, i s l a m and democracy are not compatible.

    They are opposite values.

    m o h a m e d 's "wife" was six years old.

    That makes m o h a m e d a P E D O P H I L E!!!

    And you want to base a "R e l i g i o n" on this a z s -holes rantings?

    Are you INSANE?

    I STAND with Israel

  • jonmc

    "Indeed, after initially backing the protestors, the Brotherhood then pulled out of Tahrir Square and left it to the youthful demonstrators who organized the protests that overthrew Hosni Mubarak​ early this year."
    Yup. And you could see when it happened. Prior to the MB pulling out there were virtually no women shown on the TV (in UK) – I wonder why – then all of a sudden, lots of them appeared, some hejabed, some not.

  • tanstaafl

    Perhaps it is haram, but Islam is good at kabuki theater.

  • Stuart Parsons

    Why elections ? We hear much talk about democracy, but Islam is theocracy. It does not permit democracy. Democracy means freedom of speech and religious tolerance. the 57 OIC nations and the Cairo Declaration do not support freedom of speech and religious tolerance and neither does Muhammad's mythical Allah…… and as they say "Allah knows best." Oh what a ridiculous, perfidious cult Islam is.

  • Flowerknife_us

    If the Egyptian Army wants war with Israel- the Muslim Brotherhood will come to power rather quickly. If not, Egypt will boil in the vain effort to prevent it. The longer it drags on the better.

    The butter is melting all over the place.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The pot is being stirred in the big Islamist hellhole for a grand election but I can
    only wonder how it is possible that there will only be losers, no not one winner.
    The man on the street will say after it is over "what fresh new hell is this" but
    do not fear, Hillary Clinton will have a positive spin for it all but not and Egyption
    woman, their opinions do not count…………………………………………William

  • robertgrandy
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