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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Barry Rubin on the Egyptian elections

Barry Rubin writes that we've heard all we need to hear about the Egyptian elections.
First, let’s note that these elections will include a second round for unresolved races for parliament’s lower house, voting for the upper house, and will continue until March. But there is no reason to believe that future rounds will be different. Indeed, the Islamist might do even better.

Basically, nationalism has collapsed completely; liberalism is weak; moderate Muslims are few. Radical Islamism is the only game in town. Remember that. No alternative exists to an extremist, repressive, anti-Western, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian ideology. Thank you, President Obama and New York Times!

Second, the third largest party is the Egyptian bloc which consists mainly of the Free Egyptian Party along with smaller leftist and liberal parties and much of its vote comes from Christians, meaning that the proportion of Egyptian Muslims who voted for Islamist parties is even higher than it appears, say 80 percent by the end of the elections.

Where, you might ask, is the vaunted Facebook kids’ Justice Party and the supposed leader of the reformists, touted by the U.S. government as Egypt’s future leader, Muhammad ElBaradei? Answer: Nowhere.

Note that while the Wafd, Egyptian Bloc, and most of the “other” seats went to moderate and leftist parties. If these had worked together they would have done far better but their divisions weakened them and will continue to do so in future. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the Brotherhood someday forms a majority from an alliance with the Wafd and tiny parties, thus allowing it to claim moderation by not partnering with the Salafis. Remember, you heard it here first.

Third, these votes reflect the most liberal part of Egypt! The Islamists generally, and al-Nour proportionately, will do even better in Upper Egypt (the south).

According to one reporter in Cairo, in Fayyoum’s first district the Muslim Brotherhood received 200,000 and the Salafists 130,000, out of 445,000 votes cast. The Egyptian Bloc recived less than 10,000. In Kafr El Sheikh’s first district, out of 700,000 votes cast, the MB received 210,000 and the Salafists 275,000. This is the kind of tally we can expect to see in the countryside.

Fourth, here’s an essential point: Egypt is NOT a parliamentary system but a presidential one. There will be no coalition to get a majority in parliament and choose a prime minister. Therefore the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nour do not need to become direct partners but only to vote together on specific measures and on electing those who will draw up a constitution. Thus, the Brotherhood’s denial that it will form a coalition with al-Nour is meaningless.

Fifth, the Western mainstream media is totally out of touch with reality. Many Western journalists and prestigious newspapers insist that the Egyptian people don’t want an Islamist state. Of course they do. We are seeing the democratic election of a dictatorship.


In other words, we are back to the wild 1952-1970 era of regional subversion, anti-Westernism, instability, and Arab-Israeli conflict, except for the substitution of Islamism for Gamal Abd al-Nasser’s Arab nationalism.
What could go wrong?



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