Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Egypt Holds "Election"

Lots of excitement over who the new leader of Egypt might be:

Voters trickled into polling stations to chose between [Hosni] Mubarak and his nine rivals, most of them little-known leaders of political parties with few members, with the exception of two liberal candidates Ayman Nour and Noman Gomaa.

Several hundred demonstrators gathered in central Cairo to call for an election boycott but plainclothes men broke up the protest and beat up some activists. The government had banned demonstrations on Wednesday.

Mubarak, 77, has won office four times since 1981 through referendums in which he was the single candidate, chosen by a parliament dominated by the ruling National Democratic Party.

It seems that Egypt is holding these elections based loosely on pressure from the U.S. As you can see, democracy is on the march.

@ MoJoBlog, Charles says: "Then there is the actual constitutional amendment that set the elections into place – Article 76 – an anti-democratic reform designed to preserve the status quo. Besides allowing for multi-party elections, Article 76 also outlawed the largest opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and made it virtually impossible for independent candidates to run at all."

@ The Adventures of Eric in Outer Space, Eric offers some advantages Mubarak enjoys, including: "All newspapers have editors appointed by the regime, the TV channels are all state controlled, as is the radio."

@ My Fleece Vest, Nick says: "Not only is this is a missed opportunity for the Egyptian people, it's also more evidence that the US isn't serious about promoting democracy abroad. Why bother to threaten to hold Mubarak accountable if we're unwilling to follow through?"