tribe/m

Egypts elections go smoothly

Elo Fri, May 25, 2012 - 2:58 AM by Elo

no violence, fair vote as monitored by independent global organisations -

<Daytime temperatures soared into the mid-30s as Egyptians voted in the most important election of the Arab spring. Excitement was palpable as state media provided blanket coverage of a largely peaceful process and urged citizens to do their duty.

"The People regains its free will" and "Egyptians in the queue for democracy" were among newspaper headlines as the country's 51m-strong electorate enjoyed the extraordinary novelty of choosing a new leader without knowing the result in advance. Former US president Jimmy Carter, leading a monitoring mission, praised the conduct of the vote.

www.guardian.co.uk/world/20...mr-moussa

>

interesting for those who mocked the Arab Springs attempts at democracy to compare these elections to Iraqs first elections, and considering these are Egypts first proper elections for thousands of years, not bad indeed.

Of course we have yet to see where democracy will take Egypt, but I have no problem with a moderate Muslim Brotherhood there so long as they dont take Egypt towards fundamentalism, which looks pretty unlikely, much more likely is that they will lead Egypt towards progress in the same way that the AKP have lead Turkey to progress the last 10 years.



Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Me Fri, May 25, 2012 - 1:51 PM by

Yeah, if by "smoomthly" you mean that the MB's presidential candidate will probably win... Didn't they say that they would not field a candidate when they put together their party? What kind of idiot believed a word that they said or will say in the future. Especially now that they have aligned with the salafists.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Jeff Fri, May 25, 2012 - 2:22 PM by Jeff

The "elections going smoothly" means the process went forward without much in the way of issues, such as voter intimidation, violence, influencing voters at the polls, election fraud etc. It should also be noted that there will be a second round of elections, with the front runners facing off against each other. The country's biggest metropolis votes have also yet to be counted, Cairo and Giza. This first round of voting already demonstrates a drop in support for the MB, although they will still do well. This drop in support very well may continue, especially in future elections as oppositional parties have time to organize. One surprise darkhorse candidate is Hamdeen Sabahi, who has surged in the polls and is surprising most people in how well he is doing. Let's hope this liberalizing trend continues.

.Egypt's surprise candidate: Hamdeen Sabahi

As informal and unofficial results pile up in Egypt’s first free presidential election, a heap of intriguing story lines are emerging.

What happened to former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, the presumed front runner? Did the Salafi community, with its voting power, abandon Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the man they endorsed? How is Ahmed Shafiq, the candidate most closely aligned with toppled president Hosni Mubarak, poised to enter the runoff?

But among the swirl of questions, one candidate has upended predictions the most: Hamdeen Sabahi.

Sabahi, a two-time member of parliament during the Mubarak era who was jailed 17 times under successive presidents, is battling with Shafiq for second place, after initial results showed him lagging far behind.

The charismatic populist from a rural town in Kafr el-Sheikh, a Nile Delta governorate, Sabahi had been dismissed by many analysts. He was the classic no-chance candidate in Egyptian politics, it seemed: a non-Islamist with no party machine who had revolutionary credentials and appealed to secularists.

“Sabahi has no organisation outside the big cities,” one well-known analyst told me.

“[The] only thing I’m sure of is that Sabahi is not in [the] second round,” tweeted H.A. Hellyer, a Middle East scholar.

Sabahi surge

And yet Sabahi’s surge over the past week has been palpable on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, where Al Jazeera reporters heard his name mentioned more than any other, if not as a first choice, then as the one man everyone seemed to like - someone tainted neither by the regime nor the strict, conservative and opaque party politics of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Magdy Girgis, a 50-year-old Christian shop owner in Cairo’s Shubra neighbourhood, told Al Jazeera that like many of his coreligionists he would vote for Shafiq, mostly because he felt the former Air Force officer could bring back a sense of security.

Yet Girgis said he also liked Sabahi, he just didn’t know if Sabahi was as strong.

In the wake of a parliamentary election that was dominated by Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood and prompted many to conclude that Egypt had revealed its deeply conservative and pious fundamental character, Sabahi’s surge may be an indicator that the appeal of a Nasserist - both in personality and policy - has yet to fade.

According to media reports, he has placed first or second in important governorates, including first in Alexandria, home to Egypt’s second city, and second in Suez and a batch of Delta governorates where the Brotherhood and Moussa were thought to be strong, such as Damietta, Gharbiya and Dakhileya.

Sabahi’s political career began in the 1970s, when he studied mass communication at Cairo University and joined the student union. He engaged in a famous, on-camera showdown with President Anwar Sadat at the university in 1977, criticising Sadat’s liberal economic reforms.

In the 1990s, Sabahi was an agitator and political organiser. He first ran for parliament in 1995 but lost in what his supporters described as a regime crackdown typical of the times.

When the government felt that Sabahi’s appeal was growing too strong, they shut down polling stations and deployed paid thugs to instigate fights. At one station, doors were shut with voters already inside, and a barrage of police tear gas left two women dead, one Sabahi volunteer told Al Jazeera recently.

His most prominent clash with the regime came in 1997, when Mubarak’s National Democratic Party passed a law making it easier for landlords to evict farmers who had come to the end of their leases.

Advocating civil disobedience

Sabahi took a prominent stand against the law, advocated mass civil disobedience, and was arrested.

But by then, he had become a well-known figure, and in 2000 and 2005 he was elected to parliament. He founded a journalism centre, The Rising, and advocated to change Egypt’s election laws to make it easier for independents such as himself to run for president.

He also affiliated himself with Kifaya and other Egyptian protest movements that had been newly invigorated after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq prompted demonstrations - also directed at the Mubarak regime - that were larger than any Cairo had seen in years.

When the revolution hit in January 2011, Sabahi was in the streets, and after Mubarak fell, he announced he would try for the presidency.

Sabahi’s campaign has reflected his likable persona. He is the only major candidate whose posters show him smiling, and his slogan, “one of us,” reflects a more populist appeal than the vagueness of the Brotherhood’s “renaissance is the will of the people” or the sternness of Moussa’s “Egypt needs the work of every Egyptian” or Shafiq’s “deeds, not words”.

He has received broad support from Egypt’s journalism and media communities - his headquarters is housed in the office of popular director Khaled Youssef - and his campaign claims that it has run haphazardly on a shoestring, with donors buying billboard and newspaper ad space where they can.

When Sabahi arrived in Cairo’s Matareyya neighbourhood for his final campaign rally on Sunday, just a few hundred people attended.

The rows of chairs boxed in by tent cloth with Ramadan-coloured patterns and bright hanging lights resembled a small village party more than a presidential campaign.

And yet word had spread about Sabahi. Around the corner from the rally, pensioner Muhammed Abdel Rahman sat on a sidewalk chair and said he and his neighbours had all settled on Sabahi.

Whether Sabahi’s media connections provided a late boost is up for debate, and any benefit would have been equally matched by what appeared to be a performance by state-owned media that was at best sympathetically and at worst intentionally promoting Shafiq and Moussa.

Yet by the first day of voting on May 23, Sabahi had ascended into the national debate. From taxi drivers to pensioners to well-educated consultants, his emphasis on justice and the poor had resounded.
“He said the right words, the honest words, at a time when everything was corrupt,” said Doaa Mohammed, a 28-year-old lawyer in a hijab.
She said she was against Moussa and Shafiq for their regime connections and against Morsi and Aboul Fotouh, an ex-Brotherhood member, for their Islamism. Sabahi is open-minded, she said.
Sherif Fadel, a television news reporter volunteering for the campaign, echoed her.

“I know with Hamdeen if he wins, the next day I can go out into the street and say I disagree with him, and it will be OK.”

blogs.aljazeera.com/middle-e...en-sabahi


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Elo Fri, May 25, 2012 - 3:02 PM by Elo

<if by "smoomthly"> again Andrew compare it with Iraq's first election, compared with that this went as smooth as an ice rink.

<This drop in support very well may continue>

its very likely, as the initial surge of optimism about the MB will wane when the MB are confronted with the arduous task of getting Egypts economy back on track.

I really dont mind which direction progress for Egypt comes, though new parties pushing out the MB overtime, or the MB moderating and changing as the AKP done in Turkey. Whats important is the process of change for Egypt has begun. There is no turning back now, but it takes time, many years, to fully change a country, but what that change needs is a start. Egypt got that with the Arab Spring.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Frozenstars Sat, May 26, 2012 - 2:54 PM by Frozens...

I ponder how long it will take before everything that goes wrong is blamed on Israel?

And note I take serious umbridge with many Zionists -- I just think the Israeli's are blamed way too much for just about every ill in the Middle Easter regions...


"elected" Israeli rascals (Netanyahu, etc.) are far worse

tuk tuk Sat, May 26, 2012 - 10:32 PM by tuk tuk

Tell us about the Israeli right-wing again, the ones you fear all the time could get VERY UPSET.

Especially, at any talk of land-for-peace.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Elo Sun, May 27, 2012 - 2:01 AM by Elo

<I ponder how long it will take before everything that goes wrong is blamed on Israel? >

I dont think that many Egyptians are even thinking that much about Israel, In Syria its a non issue, in Tunisia and Libya its not even been mentioned, so not sure what your even on about.

Of course some Egyptians did not like the there government selling Gas to Israel at way below the market price because of pressure from America and a corrupt army, when they are still stealing more Arab land. Thats hardly a surprise.

But Israel is very much a non issue for the Arab Spring, its all focused on domestic, not external issues, your analysis is way off the mark.

As to things going wrong - anyone who thinks you can bring democracy to an entire region thats never had it before without problems doesnt understand history, if we look at how democracy came to the west it was very bloody, took around 300 years, and was full of much bigger problems than the Arabs are currently facing. Time and change move much faster now, but we have to give this a few decades to develop not months.





Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Elo Sun, May 27, 2012 - 2:12 AM by Elo

and you know this kind of comment makes me think of someone saying, when on earth are these Arabs In Palestine going to stop whining about Israel taking there land, livelihood and homes off them, why do people like that need homes anyway ?

Given the history in that region of the last 200 years, first Colonialism then Israel, bad feelings from the Arabs is not a surprise. The only reason China and India have moved on a bit from bad feelings towards the Colonialists - though in China there is certainly still a bit left, is because after WWII, for about 70 years now, two generations, we got the hell out.

With American backing of Israel in Palestine thats, not to mention America and other western activiities in teh region since like the war over the Suez Canal and the invasion of Iraq, proping up corrupt dictators in Iran in the 70s etc, just to name a few of the most obvious cases, its certainly not true that the west got out of the middle east, or stoped using war as a tool to try and control these countries.

I wounder if there would be bad feelings amongst Americans if China took around 80% of the land off Americans now and colonized it ? I think there reaction would make the Pals look positively forging.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Me Sun, May 27, 2012 - 5:14 PM by

This is what you meant by "smoothly"?
www.aljazeera.com/news/midd...75999.html


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Me Sun, May 27, 2012 - 5:16 PM by

<And note I take serious umbridge with many Zionists -- I just think the Israeli's are blamed way too much for just about every ill in the Middle Easter regions...>

A shocking thing to say! Shocking!

I hear that the Israelis train sharks to kill children!
www.aish.com/j/mm/The_Is...spiracy.html


zionist bloodlust

tuk tuk Sun, May 27, 2012 - 10:02 PM by tuk tuk

> I hear that the Israelis train sharks to kill children!

Well, anything goes as long as they are committed to living on stolen land (as per you...)


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Jeff Mon, May 28, 2012 - 9:53 AM by Jeff

<<This is what you meant by "smoothly"?

These are as of yet proven allegations, but it is certainly a possibility. My guess is there were some shenanigans here and there, much like there has been here in the US, where these kinds of allegations have also been leveled.

Be that as it may, the interesting thing coming out of this are the actual vote percentages:

Mursi, Muslim Brotherhood: 24.3%

Shafiq, Former Air Force: 23.4%

Sabahy, Leftist candidate and the person making the vote rigging allegations: 20.4%, only 3.9% below the MB candidate.

And various moderate candidates splitting 32.1% of the vote.

Ultimately leftists and moderates garnered about half of the votes in this first round of voting, with 75.3% of the country rejecting the Muslim Brotherhood candidate. This is a marked difference from the legislative elections that the MB dominated, which lends credence to the idea that their organizational advantage gave them a leg up, an advantage that is shrinking as other parties and candidates get their act together. Ultimately vote splitting ended up with the MB candidate and the military candidate as the choice Egypt is faced with. The question becomes, which way will Egypt vote in the second round of voting?

P.S. Andrew, while the legislative vote tallies certainly did fit the narrative that you had been predicting about Egypt, that narrative seems to be fading fast, as the vote tallies indicate. And while the MB candidate may yet win the Presidency, I think the trend we are currently seeing will continue in to future elections.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Jeff Thu, May 31, 2012 - 5:11 PM by Jeff

.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Me Fri, June 1, 2012 - 1:12 PM by

<And while the MB candidate may yet win the Presidency, I think the trend we are currently seeing will continue in to future elections.>

Ha. Nice backpedal. That's the second time you've written that. Lucky for my point is that we are not talking about "future elections".


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Jeff Fri, June 1, 2012 - 2:02 PM by Jeff

<<<And while the MB candidate may yet win the Presidency, I think the trend we are currently seeing will continue in to future elections.>

Ha. Nice backpedal. <<

The above is what I have been saying since I had to point out to you that these two candidates are in a runoff election. So how can be backpedaling if this is what I have been saying since this discussion began? You are seriously confused.

<<That's the second time you've written that.

Yes, my position is consistent. And?

<<Lucky for my point is that we are not talking about "future elections".

The runoff election IS a future election. So I am unsure what you are even trying to say.

In addition, why are you ignoring the fact that the MB share of vote has shrunk significantly? Why do you ignore anything that is inconveneint to your narrative?

Let me repeat since you want to hide your head in the sand:

"Be that as it may, the interesting thing coming out of this are the actual vote percentages:

Mursi, Muslim Brotherhood: 24.3%

Shafiq, Former Air Force: 23.4%

Sabahy, Leftist candidate and the person making the vote rigging allegations: 20.4%, only 3.9% below the MB candidate.

And various moderate candidates splitting 32.1% of the vote.

Ultimately leftists and moderates garnered about half of the votes in this first round of voting, with 75.3% of the country rejecting the Muslim Brotherhood candidate. "


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Jeff Sun, June 3, 2012 - 6:58 PM by Jeff

Be that as it may, the interesting thing coming out of this are the actual vote percentages:

Mursi, Muslim Brotherhood: 24.3%

Shafiq, Former Air Force: 23.4%

Sabahy, Leftist candidate and the person making the vote rigging allegations: 20.4%, only 3.9% below the MB candidate.

And various moderate candidates splitting 32.1% of the vote.

Ultimately leftists and moderates garnered about half of the votes in this first round of voting, with 75.3% of the country rejecting the Muslim Brotherhood candidate.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Me Sun, June 3, 2012 - 10:47 PM by

None of that is relevant to anything at all.

We shall see who is president. We shall see about the future of Egypt.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Jeff Mon, June 4, 2012 - 9:20 AM by Jeff

<<None of that is relevant to anything at all.

Concrete numbers derived from how Egyptians voted is about as relevant as you can get regariding our discussion of Egypt's progression. You just claim that anything that does not fit your narrative is not relevant, and yet are completely unable to actually demonstrate in what manner it is not relevant.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Me Tue, June 5, 2012 - 4:15 PM by

Shh.


Re: Egypts elections go smoothly

Jeff Tue, June 5, 2012 - 4:53 PM by Jeff

<<<<None of that is relevant to anything at all.

Concrete numbers derived from how Egyptians voted is about as relevant as you can get regariding our discussion of Egypt's progression. You just claim that anything that does not fit your narrative is not relevant, and yet are completely unable to actually demonstrate in what manner it is not relevant.

Shh.>>

You really can't face concrete numbers that are at odds with your narrative can you? Why keep your head in the sand and ignore reality Andrew?