Sunday’s Run-Offs – A Non-Event

Sunday’s Run-Offs – A Non-Event

 Sunday is a holiday in Egypt. Most Egyptian school children will probably remember the 2010 run-offs as simply a day off school.

The Egyptian population is becoming more and more cynical when it comes to anything concerned with politics and the judiciary. Even young people are quickly becoming aware of the pervasive corruption that is now done so openly that it is surprising. A young woman walked into a polling station to vote for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in her area and at first noticed she was not confronted with security forces or hired thugs. However, after making her choice, the polling station supervisor simply unfolded her ballot, ticked the candidate of President Mubarak’s ruling party and put her now spoiled paper in the ballot box. Just like that.

All opposition parties declare the vote is marred by mass violations including ballot stuffing and bullying by government officers. Meanwhile the government says it has ensured a free and fair election.

In the 2005 elections it was more difficult to stuff ballot boxes because judges were inside the polling station, however, in 2010 there are no judges present. Instead, the High Elections Commission which is made up of government-appointed judges and parliament nominees, now has the job of supervising the electoral process.

All this is being done for the regime to retain its grip on power and keep the MB at heel. But while the Egyptian regime looks at the Muslim Brotherhood as its main rival, the reality is quite different. Growing opposition to Mubarak and his government’s tactics has secured a vast network of discontented individuals, institutions and activists who are technically savvy and in touch and aware of what is really going on.

In recent years, the internet has been the major platform of democratic political conversation. The masses have moved online, and most often, the state can not reach them. A game of cyber cat and mouse has begun and the Muslim Brotherhood, along with so many others, is using the digital media as the place to discuss volatile topics like regime change, political life, and Islamic identity.


Despite being common knowledge online, the Egyptian regime smugly affirms its success in hosting free and fair elections, saying they considered it a landslide victory constituting a vote of confidence by the people. They happily note that after the withdrawal of the most notable opposition groups from the parliamentary elections, including the Muslim Brotherhood, it is now clear that the NDP will control all parliamentary activities, including legislation, monitoring, and vetoing. Obviously, this will place the NDP in a better position when it is time to tamper with the presidential elections next year.