Egypt: Much Ado About the Parliamentary Elections

With the Egyptian parliamentary elections around the corner, candidates, as well as their parties, are using all the ethical and non-ethical weapons in order to win. And Egyptian bloggers, on the other hand, are watching, reporting, and sometimes participating in the ongoing war.

Sunday's (November 28) elections will see about 800 candidates from the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), 250 from the liberal Al Wafd Party and 130 from the Muslim Brotherhood vying for the parliament's 508 seats.

The Three Main Parties

The Arabist wrote here about the an NDP candidate's campaign in Alexandria, and how – according to his point of view – the candidate's opponent, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, is being oppressed.

I shot the following video. This was at a sports center in a lower-income neighborhood where a businessman was giving the center LE1.5m as part of Mahgoub's campaign. Mahgoub's main opponent, incumbent MP Sobhi Saleh of the Muslim Brothers, has been banned from holding any rallies and his supporters arrested and attacked.

Zeinobia also wrote here about an almost identical incident in another city in Egypt. The post also included some videos showing what happened there in her post.

Last November 13, 2010 the security forces cracked down violently in their infamous thuggery way a peaceful protest for the Muslim brotherhood in Sers El-Lyan, Monufia governorate. Sers El-Lyan city is a hot zone in Monufia in this election as it is NDPian strongman Ahmed Ezz’s electoral committee. Ahmed Ezz’s men including the police are making sure that there is no chance for any rival especially from the Muslim brotherhood to have a fair chance in electoral publicity in the committee.

In the previous elections, the NDP chose 444 of its members to compete for the available 444 seats in parliament. The NDP members who weren't chosen to run on behalf of the party decided to enter the election as independent candidates. Later on, when the NDP won 38 per cent of the available seats, those independent members rejoined the party – giving it the majority of the parliamentary seats. Voice of Egypt reminded his readers about this, saying how it proves that the NDP is a party with no ideology nor fixed policy. He also explained how the party decided to tackle this issue this year:

فقرر المرة دي انه ينزل أكتر من 800 مرشح علي 508 مقعد بمعني ان بعض الدوائر هيبقي فيها 2 مرشحين أو 3 أو 4 كلهم نازلين ضد بعض وكلهم ينتموا للحزب الوطني يموتوا هما بعض واللي فيهم هيتعاون مع الخوان ضد مرشح الحزب التاني وبكده يكون الحزب دخل التاريخ من اوسع ابوابه كأول حزب في العالم يدخل باكتر من مرشح علي نفس الكرسي
So it decided this time to have more than 800 candidates competing on 508 seats. This means that some electoral districts will now have two, three, or even four candidates competing against each other and all of them will be members of the same party. They are free to challenge each other they way they want, or even co-operate with the Muslim Brotherhood's candidates against their opponents. And this way, the NDP has became the first party in history to have multiple members competing on the same seat.

Another blogger, Hassan El Helaly, decided to publish some posters on his blog, in order to show his readers how voting for the Muslim Brotherhood candidates is a bad decision. The posters highlight what he called the black history of the MB.

The poster shows the former MB head, quoting him saying he doesn't care about Egypt nor those living inside it.

Another Egyptian party that is participating in the elections is the New Wafd Party. Wafd is usually taken with a grain of salt by the Egyptian bloggers and they accuse it to be a puppet party following the ruling NDP's hidden agenda. Zeinobia wrote here about the Wafd's announcement for the Egypt’s first ever shadow cabinet, which she described as a “media stunt.”

This is just a media stunt, nothing more, nothing else. Just like the Neo-Wafd, it is fake political move.

She then commented on the party's advertisement.

By the way is this a real Ad for Al Wafd party!!?? If it is … then I do not know what to say !! It is a pure comedy !!?? Democratic change as an injection in the ass !!? Is this a suggestion from the pharmaceutical tycoon [and the Wafd party chairman] Siyad El-Badawy Shehata or what!!??

Monitoring the Election
Many observers, both inside and outside Egypt, called for international election monitors, especially that U.S. officials and international organizations said that there was credible evidence of voter fraud and intimidation during polls for the country's Shura (Consultative) Council elections in June. Zeinobia wrote here how the Egyptian regime refused to allow international monitors, claiming it was against the country's sovereignty.

Again the Egyptian regime has rejected officially the U.S request for international poll monitors and the reason this time was to protect our sovereignty!! The Egyptian officials used very big words this time like : America is not our guardian , our sovereignty ,our dignity, etc.
I do not understand what brings international poll monitors to the sovereignty talk!!??

Zeinobia then wondered why the United States did not consider the presence of international monitors during its presidential elections to be against its sovereignty.

Why was it ok for the United States to call for international poll monitors to its last presidential elections but it is not ok for Egyptian regime!?? Ironically they invited poll monitors from Egypt like MP Mohamed Mustafa Shardi !!?? Was not an insult to the American sovereignty!!?

The High Elections commission created an official website for the parliamentary elections, and the absence of international monitors forced activists in Egypt to create Ushahidi-based applications in order to monitor the elections. Zeinobia listed all the independent monitoring applications here.

Now let’s leave official websites following the regime and go for the unofficial independent elections monitor sites , our dear geek Mustafa made for us the ONE Map that will rule them all: A map that gathers are irregularities from 5 sites including: U-shahid, Shahid 2010, and Abu Blash.

Other Comments on the Elections

Ugly posters is a usual part of all candidates campaigns

Many other bloggers have their own comments on the elections. Tarek claims that the reason why Egyptian elections have a low voter turn out is because the polls take place on a working day [Ar], and there are no official rules for business owners to let their employees to go to polling stations. Abul Maaly Fayek commented on the election posters the candidates stick on walls everywhere without even taking the house owners permissions [Ar]. He urged people not to vote for those members who bombard buildings with their posters without prior permission. And finally, Saeed Omar published an old video that – according to his point of view – summarizes how elections work in Egypt.

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