Egypt's Elections in Retrospect: The Positives

Published January 11th, 2012 - 07:09 GMT
It hasn't been all negatives for Egypt's parliamentary elections.
It hasn't been all negatives for Egypt's parliamentary elections.

Although many negative aspects marred the three phases of elections, nevertheless there were positive aspects. 

There were positive aspects such as the full judicial supervision of the electoral process, the overwhelming turnout, discipline, and the intensive security presence, which succeeded in overcoming concerns of the security slip.

Another positive aspect was evident in turning the vast majority of the polling centres staff to a neutral party in the electoral process after a long misuse by the defunct National Party to forge the will of the voters in order to perpetuate its domination of power.

Observers believe that holding elections in an atmosphere of freedom and integrity, away from the superior orders to "pass so and so" and "exclude so and so" and pre-set the number of seats for a particular political party and the exclusion of another out of the parliament are the most important achievements of the parliamentary elections of the revolution parliament. 

To some extent the results of the electoral process reflected the Egyptian political orientations of the street despite the reservations of liberal and leftist forces.

Hence, Mohamed Mohi, the Coordinator of "Participate, watch and learn" campaign and Chairman of Humane Development Association says despite the excesses the elections saw positive aspects. One of these aspects the fact that elections were held for the first time in the absence of political will biased to one faction against another. "

Mohyie also highlights another positive aspect which is the neutrality of the police and the army together.

In these elections security discipline was unprecedented. Army and police forces did not only succeed to secure polling centres, but they also were able to remove banners and candidates' electoral propaganda in front of polling centres as well. This incident took place at Zohour School, in Tawabiq area, of Faisal neighbourhood, in the Governorate of Giza.

Army forces arrested two supporters of Mohamed Abu-Regal, an independent candidate as they were distributing electoral flayers in front of Omar Makram Preparatory School in Suez.

General Adel Rifaat Security Director of Suez confirmed that reports had been filed of propaganda offenses which took place in front of polling centres in Tel Qualzam.

Abdel-Rahman Shahin the correspondent of "El-Horiya wil Adala" newspaper was arrested and detained for an hour as he was taking photos inside polling centres without prior permission.

One supporter of Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) was arrested because he was counting votes together with the staff of one of the polling centres in the Governorate of Gharbiya. 

Mohyie also pointed out to another "major" positive aspect which is the high turnout, although the demand was less in the run-off.

Judges had active roles of reining the breach of electoral silence. Head of polling centre No. 8 of Nag'e Hamadi city council threatened to shut down the voting centre altogether, as a candidate's brother had an influence on voters and instructed them to vote in favour of his brother outside the polling centre.

In the city of Qena, the Head of Namozagiya Hadetha Preparatory School gave orders to remove "El-Nour" Party's representative out of the polling centre after NGOs and "Al-Wafd" Party's representative showed resentment against his presence inside the polling centre. 

The elections monitoring Coalition's report said the elections results reflected the will of the different orientations of the Egyptian people.

The report described the electoral process as "fair" and monitored some individual irregularities which did not affect the integrity of the electoral process as quoted by the Middle East News Agency (MENA).

Abdel-Mo'ez Ibrahim said that the high turnout is the most important positive aspect of the electoral process.

"Ask people in the street why did they participate, they will be more honest than myself. The Egyptian people proved to be in control and decision-makers. Not some group here but not there."

Ismail Khayrat Head of the State Information Service (SIS) saw the electoral process as "Absolutely good". He cited a positive report by Amnesty International (AI) by saying, "Amnesty International issued its first positive report about Egypt. AI never did this before at all."

Mohamed Mounir Megahed, founder of the group Misryon Against Religious Discrimination (MARED) said the most important positive aspect of these elections was the Copts' participation. 

"They were motivated as citizens came out of the cloak of the church to the spacious home in order to defend their rights. They proved they were an important figure in Egyptian political life, and whatever the outcome is, no political faction can ignore the Copts' demands or neglect their voting bloc."

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