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:: Egypt’s 2010 Parliamentary Elections > 2010 election update
The Failure of the Boycott and the Failure of the Opposition
The Failure of the Boycott and the Failure of the Opposition
It seems that the call by some members of the Egyptian opposition for boycotting the People’s Assembly elections, scheduled at the end of next November, will be met only by those who have called for it.
Tuesday, September 28,2010 08:29
by Mohammad Salah Dar Alhayat.com

It seems that the call by some members of the Egyptian opposition for boycotting the People’s Assembly elections, scheduled at the end of next November, will be met only by those who have called for it. Indeed, the main political parties, alongside the Muslim Brotherhood, are headed towards entering the ring to compete with the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), despite their reservations regarding the rules, bases and circumstances under which the elections will be taking place. Everyone remembers the consequences of the decision made by these parties along with the Brotherhood to boycott the elections that were held in 1990. At the time, these political forces left the field to the ruling party, and the latter monopolized the political game, waging the elections nearly alone, with no real competition except for a few independents and the candidates of parties or movements that had rejected the boycott.

These political forces had at the time imagined that the pressures of the international community and human rights organizations would force the NDP to meet their demands to take measures that would ensure the soundness of the elections and give all candidates equal chances to compete. However, the elections were held and NDP candidates won the majority of seats. With time, the uproar of the international community subsided and the voice of human rights organizations waned, and the opposition lost an important podium in Parliament where it could voice its views, one for which it failed to find alternatives. It is true that the next parliament will be involved in important matters, most prominently its contribution in one form or another to influencing the presidential elections, which will take place a year later. Indeed, political parties wishing to put forward representatives of theirs as candidates for these elections are required to hold at least one seat in Parliament. However, opposition forces, the ambitions of which do not reach that of winning the presidential seat, have realized that the mere fact of dealing with the public and of mixing with people on the streets during the electoral battle is a positive matter that they must cling to and not let go to waste. As for the fact that NDP candidates enjoy privileges afforded to no one else, such as the support of local administrations and some of their public departments, it has been the case in the past, as it is today and as it will continue to be for as long as some public servants continue to believe that the government is the prime sponsor, that the NDP will remain in power no matter what happens, that a small number of districts is quite sufficient for the opposition, and that the political game, even if it witnesses some quarrels and disputes, at the end of the day always ends with the victory of the ruling party.

Doctor Mohamed El-Baradei and those with him are leading the movement opposed to participation in the parliamentary elections, a stance also adopted by the Democratic Front Party as well as by some Nasserists. Certainly being breached by political parties of the weight of the Wafd Party and the National Progressive Unionist Party (Tagammu), in addition to the Muslim Brotherhood, strikes a blow at the idea of the boycott from the start. And certainly activating the coalition comprising the Wafd Party, the Tagammu Party, the Nasserist Party and the Democratic Front Party and coordinating with the Muslim Brotherhood with regard to the parliamentary elections has become more effective and more useful for opposition forces. Moreover, waiting for the government to provide guarantees of the soundness of the elections will certainly lead to nothing more than some verbal reassurances, as the elections will take place according to the current constitution and the laws presently in effect, under conditions that will be difficult for all opposition candidates. Such is the fact and there is no way to embellish the picture. More important than calling for a boycott or wishing to participate, is the public declining to head to polling stations. Indeed, according to official statistics, the number of voters in any past elections has never exceeded a quarter of those registered to vote, which reflects the extent to which the voting public chooses to ignore the matter and refuses to participate in the elections in the first place. Noteworthy is the fact that the NDP, with the help of some governmental departments, can always drive a number of voters to the electoral committees in order to ensure its candidate victory. Nevertheless, the Muslim Brotherhood holds a massive electoral bloc, and its voters insist, in spite of the obstacles this entails, on reaching the electoral committees. As for the remaining political parties, they painfully lack an electoral base, with the exception of some of their candidates in the countryside who rely on the strength of family ties. On the whole, the elections will be taking place with a high rate of participation by the majority of political forces, and yet their results also seem to have been settled… Indeed, the ruling party will win the majority, as if it was fate… while members of the opposition will struggle over a few seats, which brought together would not threaten the victory of the ruling party.


tags: Egyptian Opposition / Political Parties / Political Reform / Egyptian Elections / Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood / NGOs / Ruling Party / NDP / Presidential Elections / Mubarak / Gamal Mubarak / Baradei / NAC / / Moderate Muslim Brotherhood / Moderate MB / Egyptian Constitution / Article 76 / IAEA / Judicial System / Boycott Election /
Posted in 2010 election update  
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