The Ploy of the Parliamentary Elections

What is happening now with the parliamentary elections reaffirms all our doubts throughout the past year that men around the President have a plan to weaken political participation and democratic transformation in Egypt by using legal tricks, suspicious funds, dictated media and some elements in sovereign agencies to eliminate candidates and limit the will of the people.

This plan started to be clear with issuing the election law which presented a system that limits fair representation of different political directions in the society and produces a divided parliament that is easy to manipulate by the government. The electoral system as it stands creates a mechanical majority that approves the government's opinions instead of actual legislation and supervision over the government. Moreover, what is happening now in the parliamentary elections reaffirms that government bodies are exerting every effort to deplete political parties of their candidates by offering them money via state businessmen who force them to run as independents, affiliated with the state, instead of under the name of a specific political party.

Then appeared a President's advisor who formed an electoral coalition of public figures with no specific political direction and affiliated with the state. This advisor then, handed over the coalition list to a sovereign body to add the strongest candidates from political parties using the stick and carrot approach.

A simple example is the 'Reform and Development Party' that had a plan, just one month ago, to compete over 85 seats in the direct vote and 12 seats on Al Wafd party's coalition. Now, after pressures exercised on the party's candidates, it's competing over 25 seats in the direct vote and 2 on the coalition list, not to mention the possible withdrawal of the Wafd coalition from the elections as a result of political and security agencies' pressures.

So, after aiming at winning 35 seats in the upcoming parliament, the medium sized party now expects a maximum of 4 seats. More so in the case of small parties that will not be represented at all under the current political system.

Moreover, the government has control over the majority of media presenters that are repeating one message: 'the state's coalition list is the winner', which increases other candidates' fears from running on other coalition lists. Instead of encouraging political parties, the media is exerting substantial effort in defaming political parties by calling them weak and unstable.

The current situation can only be described as a complete shut-down of the political scene which paves the road for a real political crisis in the near future: a government that drives the country under no supervision or accountability and furthermore refuses advice and guidance, cutting off all forms of communication with political actors and eliminating the will of the people in choosing their representatives and forming their country's policies.

The popularity of the President is declining due to these practices. His main supporters are moving out of the organized political scene which negatively affects stability and increases violent confrontations. When legitimate channels of managing political conflicts are limited, opponents resort to the street to express their opinion and pressure the government.

Despite all the above, we will continue to participate in the parliamentary elections even if we only win one seat. Boycotting the elections is a passive act and we still believe that changing the political scene to the better will only materialize through participation.

May God protect Egypt from all harm.

Anwar El Sadat


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