Why boycott?

arguments for the boycott by Popular Socialist Alliance Party Elham Eidarous in Egypt Independent

“Will our support for Morsy really save the revolution?
If Morsy ascends to power with the blessing of the various political forces, there is a risk that the Brotherhood will portray to the public that the revolution triumphed and achieved its objectives. They will say then that everyone should go back home (meaning the revolutionary forces) so that the Brotherhood can devote themselves to accomplishing the revolution’s tasks based on the legitimacy they acquired through both Tahrir Square and the ballot box. Furthermore, there is no guarantee at all that the Muslim Brotherhood will not use this support in their negotiations with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces if they decide to be “wise” enough to go back to cooperating with the military council.

I disagree with the anarchists who say that Shafiq’s victory will bring the revolution back to Tahrir Square. In my opinion, the revolution will not continue in the square anyway. But this is another story. I believe that Morsy’s win would lead to a false sense of victory, while Shafiq’s win will allow us to expose all those who conspired against the revolution to revive the repressive state, including Morsy and his organization.

Therefore, I am now convinced that the answer lies in boycotting, not out of a desire to satisfy my conscience by not voting for two evil options, but out of conviction that there is no great difference between Shafiq or Morsy reaching power. Morsy will not save the revolution, and Shafiq cannot abort it as long as the political forces and in particular the revolutionary forces do not give their blessing to one of them.

If the third bloc (the civilian revolutionary bloc) supports either of the two candidates, it will lose its credibility and will lead it supporters to drawn-out frustration. Sabahi
received the greatest number of this bloc’s votes and therefore he represented them in the first round. This bloc needs a leader and now we might have one.

Of course, some civilian political forces aligned with the revolution will attempt to reach a solution or an open and transparent agreement with the Brotherhood. Although I think this is useless, it is not condemnable. However, those forces should not compromise any of the tenets of the revolution while doing so. They need to be defending the red lines and if the Brotherhood tries to outsmart the civilian forces, then any agreements must be rejected.”

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What next for the pro-revolution voters?

Many voters are so disappointed at the results that they even consider boycotting the second round.

Another hope, but less and less likely, is that Shafiq would be barred, because of the still pending proposed law barring officials of the former regime from running for president.

Another solution is to offer the two final candidates the support of the pro-revolution voters, in exchange of a sincere to realise the Revolution demands.
Here is an idea how, according to Koert Debeuf who represents the EU parliament’s Alde group.

“With some 40% of the votes, the revolutionary power and thus leverage is much bigger, than most might imagine. Here lies the opportunity. For once, the other candidates should stick together. As one block they should offer their support in exchange for non-negotiable conditions. The secular/revolutionaries must be guaranteed on paper 1) the vice-president, 2) the prime minister, 3) half of the government ministries, 4) half plus one of the Constitutional Committee 5) all decisions will be signed by both the president and the vice-president. This is politics. This is democracy.”

Apparently Aboul Fotouh is already trying to brief Morsi.

“The former regime isn’t a monster, it’s people”

“Farag’s priorities are shared by at least 5 million other voters. He wants food on the table, security and enough money to pay both rent to the boat’s owner and the fee demanded by fire services officials for their services.

He didn’t during our 15-minute conversation mention freedom or living in dignity or democracy or human rights or military rule. His only mention of the old regime was to say that some of its members used to build illegally on the shores of the lake before the revolution.

Now all these things might matter to Farag but they don’t seem to be his priority. Shafiq, who has continually bored us with his security rhetoric, addresses his priorities in a way that other candidates fail to do.

It’s not that Aboul-Fotouh and company told voters that they must put up with their homes being looted and their womenfolk raped in the streets while we turn Egypt into Switzerland, rather that the emphasis was different.

Another, crucial, factor is Shafiq’s connection to the old regime. There is a critical mass of Egyptian voters who regard this as an asset, rather than a fault. For them, Shafiq is the strongman who understands Egypt and Egyptians and knows how to keep them in check – unlike the refined diplomat Amr Moussa and the Tahrir Square and Muslim Brotherhood upstarts.”
Read the totality of this great article on Sarah Carr’s blog.

The first day of democratic presidential elections in Egypt

A few violations were noticed but generally the first day of the election poll went alright.

The turnout of this historical first free presidential election first seemed quite low. But as soon as the sun set – the day was very hot in Egypt- more voters showed up, to the point that the Presidential Elections Commission had to extend voting hours until 9 pm from 7 pm.

Complete silence was not exactly respected everywhere, campaigners were still to be seen near polling stations, for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, or from the salafi Nour party, campaigning for Fotouh. There were a few clashes or heated arguments here and there. Presidential candidate Shafiq, a former Mubarak Prime Minister, got threatened with shoes at the polling station.
But AlMasryAlYoum reminds us that “In Old Cairo, a poor neighborhood that during the 2010 parliamentary elections was the scene of widespread fraud, intimidation and violence, voting is going smoothly.”

According to AlMasry AlYoum, “the April 6 Youth Movement said Wednesday that the military police has detained three of its members in Port Said after they videotaped electoral violations in polling stations in the governorate.”

The campaign of labor lawyer Khaled Ali says that “in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Aswan, 15 polling stations failed to open as scheduled after a number of judges had excused themselves from managing the polls.

The Ali campaign added that its representatives have also been blocked at some polling stations in Cairo, Giza and Upper Egypt. The campaign also said that an employee at one polling station in the Giza neighborhood of Imbaba was filling out ballots for voters, in violation of the law.”

Final results of expatriates’ vote delayed

The final results of the expatriate vote are not announced yet because two presidential hopefuls said they suspected rigging in Saudi Arabia.

The expatriate voters results were scheduled to be announced Monday.

But presidential candidates Dr Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh and lawyer Khaled Ali submitted complaints about the voting process at the Egyptian Embassy in Riyadh and the Jeddah consulate.
The Egyptian mission in Saudi Arabia will send expatriate voters’ ballot papers to Egypt today.

Early results indicated Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi took about half the votes there.
In a statement, the campaign supporting Fotouh claimed it detected certain irregularities, saying that the consulate closed its doors after voting and asked the supervisors to leave and start the vote count the next day. It also claimed that certain political forces collected ID cards from voters and voted on their behalf, and duplicate ballots were sent by mail.