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Monday, October 19, 2015

EGYPT: Sisi's scum has surfaced because of a change in the Egyptian attitude which is mainly "TRUS"T


An elderly woman raised her voice in the polling station asking: “Where is the ‘For the Love of Egypt’ list?” The judge answered it’s...
 
An elderly woman raised her voice in the polling station asking: “Where is the ‘For the Love of Egypt’ list?” The judge answered it’s not his job to tell her whom to vote for. Then she asked: “Where are the Free Egyptians Party candidates?” The judge again refused to answer.

Another middle-aged woman asked the members of the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC): “Whom should I vote for?

One the other hand, other voters said that “trust” is the most important factor that they are looking into when choosing a candidate.

In Al-Shaheed Ahmed Abu Al-Dahab school, a female senior citizen was assisted by soldiers from the Ministry of Interior to get in the polling station. The human rights unit in the ministry provided wheelchairs for old voters to facilitate the process.

In six polling stations located in the district of Dokki in Giza, voting for the Agouza constituency in the governorate of Giza, Daily News Egypt spoke to voters to find out what they hoped from the parliamentary elections and the upcoming parliament.

Who voted?

The elderly and women. Most voters were in the age group of 45+, and mostly 60+. The majority of voters were women. There were also several people with special needs observed among the elderly. The Ministry of Interior’s Human Rights Department provided wheelchairs and assisted those in need, in all visited polling stations.

Participation rates remained low in the first half of the day, from 9 am to nearly 2 pm. In one polling station, a total of 20 voters present at the same time could be counted.

Why were voters voting?

It was observed that most voters were motivated enough to participate in the elections, driven by a sense of patriotism more than paying attention to the composition of the upcoming parliament, thus less caring and less knowledgeable of the candidates themselves.

I was not following politics but I heard some names that became famous and seem to have a good reputation or are socially popular,” said one male voter.

The SEC on the other hand, has printed out copies of the candidates’ names whether on individual seats or in the lists, which were posted inside polling stations, but most voters had a look at it without really knowing what to look for.

The important thing is knowing if they are Brotherhood or not,” said another elderly woman who voted in the Al-Madina Al-Gameya school in Dokki, in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. When asked how she found out about their political affiliation, she barely responded: “From TV”. 

By contrast, some voters knew at least one candidate they wanted to vote for. They were either confused on how to find that candidate’s name, or whom to elect as a second candidate, as they were supposed to choose two candidates for the Agouza constituency. 

Interestingly, Sherine, the youngest female voter present at the time of the observation, had cast her vote and was waiting for her mother to finish. Sherine is 23 and said she came because she was “tired of the negative energy and wanted to be proactive”. 

Sherine has previously participated in elections, but this time, she said, it was difficult to select candidates. “I came to elect one specific candidate for the individual seats, but I am supposed to elect two people, so my second choice was a little confused. I researched the candidates and tried to have my second candidate as a woman to enhance their representation,” she said.

Despite her positivism, Sherine does not really believe she is going to be represented in the parliament. She said she was the only one among her friends who was going to vote, mostly because “things happened so fast and they do not know who the candidates are”.

A woman and her mother at the Al-Shaheed Amer Abdel Maqsoud school said they determined candidates according to their reputation in their districts. “We asked around our neighbours and friends, tried to evaluate their reputation and find out if they really provide services for the community,” said the daughter.

“This is also how we found out who is Brotherhood and who is not,” added her mother.

In general, however, voters in Dokki seemed to have minimal awareness of the importance of political participation. According to the testimony of several judges and employees of the SEC inside polling stations, the majority knew how to vote and whom to vote for.

Rania Effat, a 43-year-old voter in the Al-Shaheed Ahmed Aboul Dahab school between Dokki and Mohandessin, also supported the idea of voting in order to avoid having the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood. “And because there is a fine of EGP 500 if you do not vote,” she added, joking. 

Effat said she never personally saw the candidates “so I doubt that they would represent me inside the parliament in a satisfactory way, meaning that out of 10 demands they might take care of one.” She added that she depended on candidates’ reputation in the social and media environment.

“Candidates did not properly communicate with voters regarding their political programmes and I hardly think that all of the sweet talk they used will be implemented once they get the votes, because they will get the parliamentary seat, benefits, and political immunity,Effat said. 

Effat concluded that despite seeing no changes in people’s lives brought by the current and previous elections; she would rather have “10% of good and honest parliamentary members than not having any at all. I would rather have somebody who does not do anything than somebody who does harm.”

In the same school, a SEC employee told Daily News Egypt that she was asked on several instances by people: “Who should I vote for?” and mostly: “Which candidate is not Brotherhood? 

Typically, in referring to political Islam, all voters used the term “Muslim Brotherhood” and none of them mentioned the Salafist Al-Nour Party. 

By Mina Ibrahim 

Religious scholars debated the “legality” of participating in the Egyptian parliamentary elections that began Sunday in 14 governorates.

A fatwa is a religious opinion issued by a high profile cleric, upon the request of a concerned individual, or if a preacher believes a certain issue requires clarification or explanation. 

Scholars belonging to state run Islamic institutions issued fatwas against those who are planning to boycott elections.

Ahmed Omar Hashem, a member of the Senior Religious Scholars body that is part of Al-Azhar, Egypt’s primary Sunni religious institution, announced that who boycotts the elections is “sinful” according to the Islamic Sharia law.

Furthermore, through a televised interview, Abdullah Al-Naggar, a member of the state run Islamic Research Complex, declared that boycotting elections is similar to abstaining from praying because “voting is an Islamic duty.

Through a televised speech on Saturday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called on Egyptians to cast their votes in the ongoing parliamentary elections. 

Al-Sisi said that the upcoming parliament will be an authoritative power to draft the laws needed to complete the constitution. 

Shawqy Allam, Egypt’s Grand Mufi, condemned the “politicised fatwas” that seek to religiously outlaw voting in the elections.

Through an official statement, Allam emphasised that these fatwas are “invalid and incompatible”, urging Egyptians to effectively participate in the elections and to ignore the pressures practiced by some political factions.

Earlier, a number of parties and individuals affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood called for boycotting parliamentary elections, claiming it is only a sham. 

Brotherhood figures have been issuing fatwas that participation is religiously forbidden and campaigning against Al-Nour Party for its decision to participate. On the other hand, the Salafist Call, which is the religious arm of Al-Nour Party, believes that participation is the right of citizens.

The  parliamentary elections are the third merit of the 30 June mass uprising that ousted former president Mohamed Morsi, and put an end to the the Muslim Brotherhood rule. 

These elections are the second to be held post January 2011 uprisings. 

The first elections were dissolved in June 2012 upon a court order which considered the elections law unconstitutional. 

Turnout low in Egypt's long-awaited parliamentary election 

CAIRO | By Ahmed Aboulenein and Eric Knecht 

Many Egyptian voters shunned the first phase of a parliamentary election on Sunday that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has hailed as a milestone on the road to democracy but his critics have branded as a sham.  Polling stations visited by Reuters correspondents pointed to a turnout of around 10 percent, in sharp contrast to the long lines that formed in the 2012 election, suggesting that Sisi, who has enjoyed cult-like adulation, is losing popularity. 

Elderly supporters of Sisi comprised a large proportion of those turning out to vote, while younger Egyptians boycotted an election for a chamber they say will just rubber-stamp the president's decisions. 

 "It’s not going to matter. It’s just for show, to show that we are a democracy, and we have elections, and blah blah blah any nonsense," said Ahmed Mostafa, 25, who works in a lab. 

Ahmed Ibrahim, a 34-year-old accountant, had a similar view.

"The youth in Egypt, our ambition in 2011, we were going to build the country – but then suddenly it was stolen from us," he said. "Ninety-nine percent of my friends are not going to vote. 

"The government declared a half-day holiday on Monday for state workers, apparently hoping to encourage more voting.

Egypt has had no parliament since June 2012 when a court dissolved the democratically-elected main chamber, then dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, reversing a key accomplishment of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

In 2013 Sisi, then army chief, overthrew Egypt's first freely-elected president in 2013, the Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi, then launched the fiercest crackdown on dissent in Egypt's modern history. Human rights groups say Egypt has about 40,000 political prisoners, many of them supporters of Mursi.

"The election is a farce. I don't think anyone in Egypt is taking it seriously," Muslim Brotherhood official Wafaa Hefny told Reuters on Sunday.

But many pro-democracy secularists share the sense of disillusionment with the course of events in Egypt, a country of about 90 million where half the population is under 25.

"We are not even actively boycotting. We simply don't care," said Mohamed Nabil, a member of the now banned April 6, one of the pro-democracy youth protest movements that helped ignite the uprising that ousted Mubarak.

"The youth took to the street for a dream. We had hopes. We wanted democracy and the chance to build our country. 

"Security was tight in a country facing an Islamist militant insurgency, in addition to widespread poverty, high unemployment and an energy crisis.

On paper, the new parliament will have wide ranging powers. It can reject the president's choice for prime minister or even impeach the president. But with Muslim Brotherhood leaders and youth activists behind bars, critics doubt it can provide checks and balances. 

Few analysts expect turnout to exceed a third of the electorate. 

CHALLENGES 

Sisi secured support from other opposition groups for ousting Mursi by promising a prompt parliamentary vote. The elections, repeatedly postponed, are now taking place over two rounds on Oct 18-19 and Nov 22-23.

This week, voters cast their ballots in 14 regions including Egypt's second city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast.

Critics say an electoral system that puts the emphasis on individuals is a throwback to Mubarak-era politics, which favoured candidates with wealth and connections.

"Being a member of parliament for many is a chance to be close to government. It's like joining the government club," said Khaled Dawoud, who recently resigned as spokesman for the Destour Party and Democratic Current electoral alliance.

The unicameral parliament will comprise 568 elected members - 448 elected on an individual basis and 120 through winner-takes-all lists in four districts, with quotas for women, Christians and youth. The president may also appoint a further five percent. Final results expected in December. 

"For the Love of Egypt", an alliance of loyalist parties and politicians, is running for all 120 list seats and is expected to do well.

An alliance of socialist opposition parties that had been due to contest eventually pulled out, leaving the field dominated by Sisi loyalists.

The Islamist Nour Party, which came second in the last election, will take part. However, it has lost much support among Islamists since endorsing Mursi's overthrow.

Speculation is already rife that the constitution will be amended to curb parliament's powers.

"I used to sleep in Tahrir Square (in central Cairo) during the revolution (of 2011 against Mubarak) but nothing has changed," said Ahmed Bahaa Karmy, 26.

"Sisi is just like Mubarak." 

Egypt voters trickle in to elect new pro-Sisi parliament

By Tony Gamal-Gabrie 

Cairo (AFP) - Egyptians voted Sunday to elect a new parliament that will bolster President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's grip on power after he crushed all opposition since ousting his Islamist predecessor two years ago.

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The vote for the much-delayed 596-member parliament is being staged in two phases ending on December 2, with Egyptians abroad casting their votes for the first round from Saturday.

But with an absence of opposition parties -- including the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood that has faced a deadly government crackdown overseen by Sisi -- polling has inspired none of the enthusiasm witnessed for Egypt's first democratic elections in 2011.

Experts say the election's outcome is a foregone conclusion and only voter turnout will be a gauge of popularity for Sisi, who has enjoyed a cult-like status since toppling president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Voting was listless Sunday in 14 of the 27 provinces where polling is being held over two days.

This prompted the government to announce that public sector employees will work only half a day Monday in order to have time to vote.

Authorities also urged the private sector to "facilitate" voting for their employees.

Polling stations closed at 2100 GMT and were to reopen Monday at 0700 GMT.

Most of the more than 5,000 candidates overwhelmingly support Sisi and are expected to dominate parliament.

Cairo resident Islam Ahmed was unmoved and said he was not taking part in the vote.

"I think the turnout will be low. I don't know any candidate in my constituency... many people don't know candidates in their constituencies," said Ahmed. 

Hazem Hosny, political science professor at Cairo University, said: "This parliament will be a parliament of the president.

"It's really a parliament... to keep things as they are, to give an image of democracy." 

'Would have been migrants' – 

Many Egyptians tired of political turmoil since the 2011 ouster of veteran leader Hosni Mubarak support Sisi, who has vowed to revive an ailing economy and restore stability.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected civilian leader, was deposed by then army chief Sisi on July 3, 2013, after mass street protests against his divisive year-long rule.

An ensuing government crackdown targeting Morsi's Brotherhood left hundreds dead and thousands jailed.

Hundreds more including Morsi have been sentenced to death after speedy trials, which the United Nations denounced as "unprecedented in recent history". 

Sisi, meanwhile, won a presidential election in 2014.

"Sisi is our soul... without him we would have been migrants like those from other countries around us," said Buthaina Shehata after casting her vote.

Scores of policemen and soldiers have been killed in jihadist attacks since the crackdown on Islamists began, with the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State group leading a deadly insurgency in North Sinai.

The Brotherhood dominated the last assembly but is now blacklisted as a "terrorist organisation", while leftist and secular movements that led the 2011 uprising are boycotting or are badly represented in the polls.

The Islamist movement had been the main opposition force for decades, fielding independent candidates in parliamentary elections under Mubarak despite an official ban.

Its party took 44 percent of seats in the first free democratic elections following Mubarak's ouster. 

That parliament was dissolved in June 2012, but the Brotherhood's popularity shone through days later when Morsi was elected, putting an end to six decades of presidents coming from military ranks. 

Sisi urges voters –    

In a television address on Saturday, Sisi called on Egypt's 55-million-strong eligible voters to cast their ballots. 

"Celebrate the choice of representatives and make the right choice," he said.

"I am expecting Egyptian youth to be the driving force in this celebration of democracy."

Of the 596 lawmakers being elected, 448 will be voted in as independents, 120 on party lists, and 28 will be presidential appointees. 

The main coalition, the pro-Sisi For the Love of Egypt, includes leading businessmen and former members of Mubarak's National Democratic Party. It aims to win two-thirds of the seats. 

The openly pro-Sisi Salafist Al-Nur party that backed Morsi's ouster is the only Islamist party standing.

Any run-off in the first phase of the two-stage election will be contested on October 27-28. The second phase starts on November 21.


 Down 
with military rule

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