Egyptian elections: Brotherhood says it’s ready

Egyptian elections: Brotherhood says it’s ready

In two weeks’ time Egyptians will head to voting booths to cast ballots in what analysts say could be one of the most important elections in the country’s modern history.

Municipal elections, long the heart of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), kick off on April 8.

The NDP is not assured victory this year as the country’s leading opposition group the Muslim Brotherhood is gearing up for its participation.

This year’s vote had been scheduled for 2006, but after the Islamic organization struck at the NDP’s stranglehold on Parliament by winning almost one-quarter of the seats, the local vote was postponed two years until this April.

In recent weeks, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members have been arrested, including candidates themselves, in an attempt by Cairo to stem the flow of popularity among their leading foe, but it has not worked.

The Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mehdi Akef said that his organization planned on continuing its push toward the election and had promised full participation even if candidates were behind bars.

“We will push on despite the number of detentions the Egyptian government is pursuing,” Akef said in a statement on the group’s official Web site. “We will not back down in the face of their (Cairo) pressure and will fully participate in the April elections.”

Egyptians are optimistic despite a widespread belief that not many people will vote in the April election.

One café employee told panapress that while he doesn’t think he will vote for the Brotherhood he knows many people who plan to do just that.

“A lot of my friends have said they are going to vote for the Brotherhood,” Ibrahim, 26, said. “They are doing that not because they are Islamic, but they want to see some change here in Egypt. We have lived with the same government for too long and things are not getting better.”

In a microcosm of Egyptian society, Ibrahim reveals that many in the North African nation are not full-fledged supporters of the Islamic organization, but believe that the Brotherhood is the best means for enacting change in the country.

Current President Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt since 1981 and all but a few months of that time have been under emergency rule that makes the Constitution void. Panapress.