Egypt Votes: Every Silver Lining has a Cloud!

Egypt Votes: Every Silver Lining has a Cloud!

People today in general want stability, regardless of the high price they have paid, and are willing to continue to pay as they close their eyes to the matrix of deception that prevents them from getting anymore out of their lives or the lives of others that pave the way to their false sense of stability.

Regardless of the constitutionality of the first free presidential elections in Egypt, the elections have ensued. Voters out in high numbers, as long as one does not notice that the numbers are in fact low in relation to the voting population – for some already decided that they would not ledn their vote to what is perceived as a charade. But where does that get the country, even voting the best of the 12 candidates is a step towards democracy. Ignoring the candidate that has no credibility on the ground but is on a soft sell by SCAF and state owned media, namely Ahmed Sherif, it does not mean going back to one’s own life, and leaving the newly elected president to get on with it, and the governing bodies. But even the best will have the hardest of times unless he has a cabinet that works with him, and not on some other ‘agenda’ – for no matter how good the president is, it takes a team.

The campaiging process was short and sweet, at the end of it all, most of the people did not know who to vote for. Voting for ‘the man’ does not constitute voting for the benefit of all Egyptians unless that ‘man’ fully believes, and proactive in establishing what essentially the people (regardless of faith ar easking for, a people’s democracy!

With best intent, depending on one’s level of perception, many Egyptians have gone out and cast their vote. It would be too easy to allow their vote to count, to let whoever wins take presidency, and for that president to work things out with a currently dysfunctional parliament, and to work towards developing a program. To make mistakes and lern by them quickly for the benefit of the people.Many Egyptians know this, and despite the efforts made by some of the population to cast their vote in the run around to find out where their polling station is, many are simply getting on with their own lives the best they can!

Yes, that would be too simple, too simple for, the Surpreme Council of the Armed Forces, SCAF despite the press conference declaring an open and free election for all the world to see.

Forget about the image, it is the Egyptian people who have to be convinced, but it does not help when one hears about amendments to the interim Constitution that was put to public referendum in March 2011. A referendum that only informed the public of the amendments, and not the amendments in context, the recent amendments without going to referendum serve only to prove why members of the revolutionary youth still continue to ask SCAF to step down and handover to civilian rule.

Amendments to the popular Constitution Without Referendum!

Three days before the presidential elections, Sunday 20 May 2012, SCAF put it upon themselves to discuss a supplementary constitutional declaration! Apparently this discussion is in coordination with ‘political powers’, but those ‘political powers’ that agree with the notion do not seem to include other ‘political powers’.  Interestingly, Yasser Hassan, member of one of the ‘political powers’, the Wafd Party states there has been no meeting as yet!

The final draft was scheduled for 22 May 2012, the day before Egyptians are due to cast their votes. This moved was unwittingly aided by secular elements who demanded that SCAF amend Article 60, which would prevent parliament from appointing a constituent assembly – the task should be left to lawyers, which in itself is not a good sign!

Secular forces have urged the SCAF to amend Article 60 of the constitutional declaration (issued by the SCAF after last year’s revolution and approved via popular referendum) with the aim of stripping parliament of the right to appoint constituent assembly members and entrusting the constitution-drafting process to a handful of law professors.

What the March 2011 constitution allows for the president  to assume SCAF authority immediately upon taking office, and to appoint the cabinet. This means that SCAF will lose its assumed governing role since February 2011. It is the president  who will front the “National Defense Council,” not SCAF.

By Monday 21 May, 2012, Presidential candidate Khaled Ali denounced the intended ‘amendments’ to the March 2011 interim Constitution declaring it to be unconstitutional.

The Egyptian National Front (ENF), a coalition of political parties want nothing to do with ‘the negotiations’ of the supplement to the interim constituion, which includes Muslim Brotherhood and the Wafd Party. The signatories to ENF’ statement includes:

  • National Progressive Unionist Party (NPUP)
  • Free Egyptians Party
  • Egyptian Social Democratic Party
  • Democratic Front Party
  • Dignity Party
  • Justice Party
  • Socialist Popular Alliance Party
  • Union of Professional  Syndicates
  • National Front for Change

For former head of the IAEI, former presidential hopeful, Mohamed El-Baradei, the ‘amendments’ to the March 2011 interim Constitution will give SCAF ultimate authority over the whole country – given SCAF’s track record, this is not a very good sign!

What the amendments will allow for are:

  • The newly elected president to dissolve parliament, the parliament that people voted for!
  • The right to appoint prosecutor-general, Al-Azhars’ grand imam (the only sane head in favor of the people), and the grand Mufti
  • The role of Egypt’s military to safeguard national security, national unity, and to protect the constitution and revolutionary legitimacy (so far it has been the opposite).
  • SCAF would be able to discuss internal affairs of the military, the budget, armaments, and military law – which is good for the country as whole as it  enforces transparency, but this will be behind closed doors with the parliament’s defence and national security committee.
  • Commander-in-chief of the armed forces will be the president
  • The leader of the military will be the defence minister
  • The president will be able to declare war with the approval of SCAF and the People’s Assembly, which if one recalls less than 15% of the population voted in!
  • The People’s Asssembly will be able to form a new government that does not include the: defence, interior, military production, foreign affairs, information, finance and justice), ostensibly placing all real power in the hands of the president and the military.

It is believed this is in order to avoid a state within a state scenario as it pertains to blocking the powers of the Islamists, but if they are what the people vote for, and the whole electoral process has been truely honest and transparent then surely it is the people’s responisbility, however the time frame of the electoral process undermines a people’s choice, and that time-frame was set by SCAF.

However, for sure, the people will not be amused. Latest confirmation as it that the supplement to the constitution will be announced if the presidential elections are settled in the 1st round, i.e. no run-off, and that is to determine the immediate powers of the president, the structure for a constituent assembly that will be responsible for drafting Egypt’s new constitution. What that will mean if one of the ‘political powers’ who are supposed to be involved in the drafting of the supplement to the constitution, shall all be revealed, especially as the Wafd Party are for less presidential powers, and for a mixed (parliamentary-presidential) system of government, which would be more representative of the needs of the people.

Election Day

Despite all the good intent of the High Electoral Commission to run the presidential elections better than the parliamentary elections, irregularities ensue. From voters recieving the wrong number (hence voting in the wrong place), to polling stations being closed for various reasons along with presidential hopefuls former Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, and Mohamed Morsy have been referred to the Prosecutors General for irregularities.

Cairo: Policeman received a fatal shot  in a polling station in Rod El-Farag as well as a driver passing by

Cairo: Fights took place at polling stations (schools)

Cairo: Campaigning going on outside polling stations

Alexandria: Buying of votes taking place outside polling stations

  • Mansoura: Vote rigging in favor of former Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq

Dont forget the silver lining, the people, becuase once they believe that a people’s democracy is possible, and remain aware that they are treading new ground, a new dawn awaits, as it did with the silent path to change made by the Bolivian peoples. They succeeded in pulling their country out of depths of hopelessness, to turn hope into a reality, and that takes a different kind of leader, a leader with a people’s vision. This vision does not include secularists playign behind the scenes to go against the people’ vote, and Islamists ( a meaningless term) who feel so assured of their own power that they cannot even heal the divisions within parliament as their country goes to the dogs!

 

Two Days Later

The 27 May 2012, is not full of jubilations neither was the day after the presidential elections. What jubliations ther were, was expressed by the same feeling of being appreciated, being able to participate, and contribute, in other words the feeling of being valid, but voting with their feet only 41% of the 51mn voters voted – that is how much they thought of the presidential elections pushed through in the month of Rajab – the 1st month of preparations for the blessed month of Ramadhan, exploited months previously to keep the people mellow.

A heavy silence permeates the evening air for the second night, unusual for the summer months when Egyptians got to bed very, very late due to the heat. Heat exhaustion one might claim, but the people will say otherwise as news circulates that presidential hopefuls, Mohammed Mursi, and Ahmed Shafiq (despite electoral violations) have from out of nowhere, lead the presidential race!

The announcement has yet to be made, and might involve a run-off in June, but if hope is in the air, it is with the ousted regime, the U.S., and allies, and the belief that was so eloquently put by Egyptian Ambassador Raouf  Saad:

“Whoever wins, the revolution is in process to keep them in check”!

The heavy silence continues into Sunday 27th May, 2012, leaving many Egyptians as feeling as if they are being held to ransom by SCAF’s heavy handed threats – choose Mohammed Mursi (Muslim Brotherhood aka Justice and Freedom Party) as your president or Mubarak’s Ahmed Shafiq, with the pro-Mubarak regime and the nation’s Christians pro-Shafiq. But the average Egyptian knows that what appears to be going in one direction, can easily change.

With the announcement of the final results not taking place until Tuesday 27 May, 2012, ‘bad loser’ is the label slapped on the thrid runner-up, Hamdeen Sabahy as he reminds the people of the issue of rights.

Leading up to the week of the elections, there was an investigation taking place into the constitutionality of the elections from the High Constitutional  Courts – suddenly no word was heard from them as SCAF went ahead with the elections. It is more in response to Sabahy’s call to suspend the elections that SCAF declares there has been no announcement about the candidates for the presidential run-off scheduled for June, 2012.

A  ‘Bad loser’ Sabahy may be, but it does not change a few facts blurred into allegations as an appeal is to be presented to the Supreme Presidential Electoral Committee based on the following violations:

  • That the Interior Ministry had illegally assigned 900,000 votes to Shafiq
  • That former members of the regime do not qualify for entering the elections (April 2012 the constitutional court ruling on the validity of the electoral committee to disqualify Shafiq, which was replaced by banning Mubarak-era officials from the race to the constitutional court by the electoral committee, which does not have the legal power to do so. However, according to Al-Ahram,  under Article 28 of the SCAF-authored Presidential Elections Law SPEC is immune from any appeals/decisions…

With former US President Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center monitors observing the elections, what has been noted is the haze that hangs over the final aggregation of national results that clouds the transparency SCAF said it would honor.

If an election re-run takes place, it might restore the people’s confidence, who to a large part did not vote, however, what is clear on the ground from the silent campaigning is that the people felt there was not alot of choice. They know that unless SCAF supports the candidate, that as president they will be undermined by SCAF, but still there is a greater issue outstanding, and that is a constitution voted for by the people through a referendum, which determines the parameters of the president elect. For the March 2012 constitution voted for by the people has been ‘amended’ in more ways than one without their legal consent.

As 250,000 Canadians march on the streets of Canada, the vote is clearly not enough to ensure democracy for the only way to ensure democracy is through the constant participation of the people, which in it self is a learning process for the Northern Hemisphere as well as the Southern Hemisphere.

Leaders need to be constantly reminded of how they get to that position, and that they are servants of the people and not above the people.

Sources:

Ali, M, Mohsen, M. “Presidential Powers to Be Defined After Elections – SCAF.” http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=1&id=29705

Brown, N. “Will Egypt Get a New Interim Constitution?” http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/05/23/will_egypt_get_a_new_interim_constitution

Gundy, Z. “Egypt Administrative Court Decision Threatens to Disqualify Shafiq Again.” http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/36/122/41242/Presidential-elections-/Presidential-elections-news/Egypt-Administrative-Court-decision-threatens-to-d.aspx

Manipulation for Ahmed Shafiq at Polls, Reports Staff http://en.aswatmasriya.com/news/view.aspx?id=e93df138-7e68-4227-9484-18976890c7d6

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