I have previously written how Gwyn Dyer has characterized the Egyptian Presidential Elections as a Cynical Farce. Now, the third phase of the Egyptian Parliamentary Elections for 2005 has closed, and similarly it is a cynical farce too.
Although the opposition made significant gains, it is not as great as what can be if the elections were really free. The offically banned Muslim Brotherhood gained a relatively big 76 seats.
The usual official intimidation and exclusion marred this election, just like the last ones. Sometimes, riot police are deployed, and on other occasions, it is gangs of thugs. They both prevent voters from reaching the polling station. Mass detentions of opposition candidate and supporters, mainly from the brotherhood, also serve the "intimidate and exclude" modus operandi.
Another trick was to make the election in three phases/stages, and adjust the intimidation/exclusion for the upcoming phase based on the results from the previous ones. The official line is that there are not enough judges to oversee the elections. In reality, some judges have been victims of beatings themselves!
What I admired was the resourcefulness of some villagers, who used ladders at the back of the polling station to let people in, first over the wall, and then through the bathroom window. The police discovered this literal back door, and dismantled the ladders.
If this shows anything, it shows that political apathy and fear are slowly dying in Egypt, and that there is hope for change.
- Egyptian Parliamentary Election, 2005 on Wikipedia.
- Blogger Mostafa Hussein covers the issue in his article Thuggery Is The Solution and Egyptian Bloggers on Elections on Harvard Cyberlaw's Global Voices.
- ABC News article Egyptian Police Battle Voters, One Killed.
- BBC: Violence mars Egyptian elections, has a stunning picture of a middle aged woman in traditional dress climbing the ladder that was setup to enable voters to go inside the polling station, after police blocked the entrance.
- BBC: In pictures: Egypt Poll Clashes, has some telling images too.
- More graphic and troubling images from Misr Digital, and Big Pharaoh and Baheyya.
- Associated Press: article by Nadia Abou El Magd via The Guardian.
- BBC Arabic: comments from internet visitors reflect the mood. The vast majority state that the elections were not free. The amazing part is those who stick out by parroting the official statements of "elections are free". Are these brain washed or hypocrites?