The Egyptian and Iraqi Elections in the Balance
Seeing the Iraqi police and armed men helping the elderly and the disabled find their way to the polling station was a usual scene in the Arabic Middle Eastern media. The Iraqi forces were so attentive to the Iraqi people. They took the voting cards to the hospitals to help the patients cast their ballots. Who could believe that Iraqi insurgents secured an election center in Ramadi to guarantee the winning of the Sunni candidates? That was unexpected stance from the insurgency. Sunnis realized that their only path to be in power is through election and democracy. On the other hand, the Egyptian police were also so proactive and engaging to the extent of attacking the judges who were monitoring the electoral process and killing the citizens with rubber bullets.
Egyptian Parliamentary turnout was less than 21%. Iraq’s election was more than 71%. Democracy is winning credibility in Iraq because it is real. Egyptians are still refraining from voting because there is no democratic process.
Egyptian voters were mainly from the regime National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood. Sunni Iraqis participated after last January elections boycott. All political and religious currents want to play a role in the democratic process. In Egypt, the regime was the only player in every referendum or elections that took place in the past. To let the world believe that democracy is emerging, the regime brought its’ in shadow ally and partner to the light. The regime partnered the Muslim Brotherhood under the dome of the parliament.
The Egyptian NGOs were hampered so as not to their work. The EU invited themselves to monitor the elections. They declared the elections rigged even before the announcement of the results. They were made unwelcome by the regime and in some instances were intimidated by pro-government personal. The Iraqi election was monitored by the Iraqi people and international observers. The UN and USAID exerted tremendous effort to raise awareness on the electoral process, months before election day, distributing pamphlets and flyers. Candidates had access to media and people. The Iraqi election took place under the protection of the US and the will of the Iraqi people to make Iraq’s future.
Enemies of the freedom in Iraq planted some roadside bombs that did not disrupt the democratic process that day. In Egypt, the forces of the ministry of the interior opened fires on Egyptian citizens on different cities and closed several polling stations denying voters access to the polling stations.
I will not talk about the Egyptian election results, it is apparently obvious. The only thing I will say that all human rights groups and NGOs unanimously agreed that the election was rigged and that it witnessed unprecedented violations. But I will wait anxiously for the Iraqi elections results. Iraq’s regime has changed and Egypt regime is still the same since more than 25 years.