Tag Archives | Egyptian elections

Video: Egyptian Electoral Parties and Procedures Explained

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Egyptian Election Off to Good Start

According to Al Jazeera:

Egyptians have started casting their ballots in the first parliamentary elections since former president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a popular uprising earlier this year.

Long queues were seen outside many polling stations amid tight security arrangements as voters flocked to the polls on Monday morning. Voting in this round of the elections last for two days.

It appears any problems so far are related to ballots and/or judges being late to polling places.

However, Tadros {Al Jazeera reporter-ed} added: “The mood is very much upbeat. I really have not seen this kind of voter turnout.”

Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reported from Assiut, one of the most significant governorates in the Upper Egypt region, that there appeared to be an exceptionally high turnout by the standards of the country’s previous votes.

“The lines have not stopped outside the polling centres,” she said. “If we’re judging by the turnout, this has been by all accounts a success.”

Women were turning out in high numbers, unusual for such a conservative region, she said.

There were no signs of violence or coercion, she reported, but there were campaign violations as some parties continued to campaign even as voting was underway.

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Sec. Clinton has been talking out of both sides of her mouth.   Two weeks ago, she said the SCAF’s delay for Presidential elections until 2013 was ‘appropriate.’   This past wee, she has been verbally scolding SCAF.  But look, every US president who served the last 40 years scolded Mubarak but never left his side.

The Obama Administration is overly concerned about security and Egypt’s treaty with Israel.  Repression by SCAF isn’t going to ensure either.  Stability will come with elections to Parliament, the Presidential election date set for next Spring and overturning the emergency law.

SCAF itself is the provocateur for chaos.  It has sewn dissent between Copts and Muslims.  It has reneged on promises.  It continues to give mixed signals in a volatile situation.  SCAF is either setting the stage for more repression or incredibly clumsy and stupid.

Obama needs to move on this immediately.




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Will Field Marshal Tantawi Run for Egyptian President?

Several blogs specializing in Africa and the Middle East report two ominous signs that the head of Egypt’s Military Council may seek the Egyptian presidency.  First, during Sec. of State Clinton’s visit last week, he was seen on Cairo streets shaking hands and greeting people, something rare for Tantawi.  Pictures also showed him in civilian clothes, a first.  Two days ago, two or three neighborhoods in Cairo and Alexandria were plastered with Tantawi posters suggesting he would be most capable to ensuring the ‘stability’ of the Egyptian state.   A previously unknown group “Egypt Above All” were said to be behind the posters.

Last March, I made a point of saying Egypt’s Tahrir Square movement was a reform movement, not revolution.  Although the old Mubarak party is dissolved, the SCAF are high level military lifers with close ties to the former president and to the US military.

Obama Pledges Support for Egyptian Military

Meanwhile, the White House released a read-out of President Obama’s October 24th call to Field Marshal Tantawi:

President Obama called Egyptian Field Marshal Tantawi today to reaffirm the close partnership between the United States and Egypt and to underscore his full support for Egypt’s transition to democracy. The two leaders agreed that Egypt’s upcoming elections must be free and fair and be held in accordance with democratic standards. The President underscored that the United States supports a strong, peaceful, prosperous and democratic Egypt that responds to the aspirations of its people, and that the outcome of the election is for the Egyptian people to decide. He welcomed Egypt’s willingness to accept international election witnesses and urged that Egypt lift the emergency law and end military trials for civilians. The two leaders also discussed Egypt’s economic situation. The President emphasized his support for full funding by the Congress of the Administration’s request for assistance for Egypt, without conditions, and stressed his commitment to help Egypt secure international assistance to address its economic needs.

Just replace the Field Marshal’s name with Mubarak and this sounds like a run-of-the-mill statement such as the WH delivered to Mubarak under several presidents.  It is certainly a statement of support for “Egyptian stabiity”, not a warning against anti-democratic actions taken by the military council.  And how many times did American presidents’ ‘urge’ an Egyptian leader to lift the 40-year-old emergency law?  It meant nothing.

Egyptian Instability: Suspicious Origins

Much of the ‘instability’ faced by Egyptians over the past several months have suspicious origins:

1.  Soccer thugs attacked the Israeli embassy after splitting off from a peaceful pro-democracy demonstration near Tahrir Square.  No Egyptian police were to be found.  Major news organizations said the Israeli ambassador to Egypt called Netanyahu who called Sec. Clinton who called President Obama, who called the Supreme Military Council in Egypt to tell them the Israeli embassy was under attack in their own backyard.  Stranger that fiction?  Maybe not.

2.   After a Coptic Church was vandalized, the army attacked protests, killing two dozen people, some crushed by tanks rolling over them.  Many observers believe the SCAF is deliberately throwing fire on to sectarian biases.  So far no one has been brought to justice.

3.   The Emergency Law remains in effect.

4.   SCAF postponed presidential elections until 2013, against the wished of Democrats.  Clinton supported the postponement.

5.   Pro-democracy activists are still being thrown in jail at security services will under the emergency law and some are being tortured.



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