Rigged polls and zero MB representation commended by former Israeli ambassador

Rigged polls and zero MB representation commended by former Israeli ambassador

Eli Shaked, Israel’s retired former Ambassador to Egypt, praised the overall outcome of Egypt’s farcical parliamentary poll. While the international audience slammed Egypt’s ruling regime and its tyrannical dictatorial methods of running the elections, Israel commended Mubarak praying that he lives to 120.

Shaked relayed that Israel was extremely satisfied with the results of the polls which gave the Muslim Brotherhood zero representation in the new parliament after the popular group chose to boycott the second round of the elections on the grounds that the ruling NDP shamelessly rigged the first round of the poll through whatever methods it deemed necessary to sideline the MB. The regime was adamant that there would be no repeat of the 2005 poll where the MB, despite the government rigging the elections, secured 88 seats in parliament making them the largest opposition under the dome.

According to Shaked, the NDP’s so-called success dealt a blow to the MB which he described as strengthening the position of the regime which Israel regarded as a key player of a de facto partner against Hamas, the MB offshoot in Palestine and undoubtedly a thorn in Israel’s side.

Israeli analysts, however, predict the elections will increase domestic tensions in Egypt. The MB had been viewed as a safety valve for the country and the NDP obtusely chose to shut it out from the parliamentary arena in an effort to tighten its grip on power and guarantee a tame chamber before the scheduled 2011 presidential bid.

Hebrew University’s Elie Podeh foresees an escalation in street violence with the impeding election and stresses that security personnel must display discretion to avoid its growing intensity.

Shaked, however, who was only concerned for Israel’s wellbeing, asserted the results were pleasing and positive from the Israeli point of view. He criticized rights groups’ charges that fraud and manipulation determined the NDP sweep, emphasizing that the elections were expected to be anything but transparent.

Shaked added that the results were not surprising, stressing that the Egyptian regime would have to be very foolish to repeat the same mistake twice of allowing the MB to be present in parliament. His comments gave adage to the proverb “Beat me once shame on you, beat me twice shame on me”.

He reflected his country’s view that free and fair elections were not appropriate in the Egyptian context and should not be demanded of Egypt, claiming that he preferred this kind of non-democratic Egypt rather than an Egypt ruled by the MB which Israel regards as a threat. He asserted that it was enough for Israel to know that Mubarak won the elections, noting that how he did it and whether it was clean is of less importance. He believed the Egyptian regime would not appease the US and Europe with decorated words about democracy.

Hebrew University’s Elie Podeh, however, argues that by aggressively stifling the opposition, the regime ”overplayed its hand” and harmed its own interests. He added that it would be a setback for the regime, as the result looks completely rigged and it was impossible to have reflected public opinion.

Podeh predicts sizeable unrest and an escalation of voices slamming the regime both on the street and on the internet.

Ben Gurion University Egypt specialist, Yoram Meital, agreed, adding that there will be a boomerang effect where the severe harm the regime caused the opposition would most probably make its way back to the face of the regime. According to Meital, the MB and the Wafd Party will be entering a face on struggle against the NDP’s efforts to promote its own candidate for the presidency, whether it was Mubarak or his son Gamal. He added that any criticism would now be focused, not on the parliamentary level, but on the presidency itself.

Meital indicated that the regime’s credibility would be rightly used by the MB for ‘delegitimization’ of the NDP and the regime itself after it shut out the opposition from the chamber. He assumed it will harm the regime’s efforts to promote its own candidate for the next bid for the presidency.

Nevertheless the Israeli government is pleased with the results, describing the parliamentary elections as excellent news, since the Israelis were similar to their NDP counterparts in that they did not want to see the Muslim Brothers even get close to having power