People shout slogans on hunger and poverty during an anti-government protest in Cairo, Feb. 22, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Egyptian Voter Choices Narrow

Author: Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt) Posted February 27, 2013

Since the former regime began to crumble, others have been hard at work to leave the people with choices that serve interests other than those for which the revolution was started.

SummaryPrint There has been a steady trend since the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011 of the political landscape becoming paradoxically more constrained and less diverse, reports Mohamed Salmaoui.
Author Mohamed Salmaoui Posted February 27, 2013
Translator(s)Sami-Joe Abboud

This happened about a year and a half after the start of the revolution. In the last round of the presidential election, people found themselves left with two options: either vote for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate and allow the country to try political Islam for the first time, or return to the rule of the old regime, albeit in a different form.

In the next parliamentary elections, which will be held next April in accordance with a decision issued by the president, the choices are becoming even narrower again where the people are left to choose between an Islamist government and Islamist opposition.

Prior to the parliamentary elections of 2011, the Brotherhood would emphasize that they are not looking for power and would only run for a third of the seats of the People’s Assembly. This time, however, they have announced — after having won and risen to power — that they are running for all seats.

As for the opposition, it has been narrowed down to another Islamist faction: the al-Nour Party. This party has recently announced its split from the Brotherhood after nearly two years of informal coalition, in preparation for the upcoming elections.

Most national forces appear slated to boycott the elections, which they deem useless in light of the Muslim Brotherhood’s current monopoly on different powers of the state, especially the private bodies entrusted with overseeing the elections, such as the police, the municipalities and the judiciary.

In this context, the national opposition forces currently find themselves between two choices. They can either contest the elections and get what the forces that are in full control of the electoral process allow them to get, giving the upcoming elections a degree of false legitimacy, or boycott the elections, leading to an illegitimate parliament that only represents one political faction, be it in the government or the opposition seats. 

This situation leads the country to a state of political absurdity, narrowing political options for the people in the parliamentary elections that are supposed to embrace the most diversified candidates and offer voters a range of political forces.

We find ourselves as voters forced to choose between the Muslim Brotherhood and a Salafist opposition.  Where are we headed, and what will future elections be like? Will we find ourselves forced to choose between two factions that both belong to the Brotherhood?

Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2013/02/egypt-election-narrowing.html

Published Cairo, Egypt Established 2003
Language Arabic Frequency daily

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