Have you ever imagined that, in an election, 5 million go to the ballot boxes and the regime claims they are 25 millions? It happens in Egypt … In 2014, and after the coup d’état, approximately 10-15% of the voters only went to the ballot boxes; the regime then said that the turnover was more than 50% … It is normal in Egypt since the army came to power in 1952: the media is theirs, no supervision on election or voting and they can claim whatever they like; if you disagree, you will be put in prison.
Today in Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who led the military coup d’etat against the first elected president in Egypt’s history, is running again for a second term as a defacto president. He has put more than 70,000 in prison from all political parties, including the head of state, the speaker of the parliament, parliamentarians, political activists, university professors, etc. He has also killed more than 850 peaceful protestors in Rabaa Square, according to Human Rights Watch, and hundreds after it. The total number of those who have been extra-judicially killed op to today is not less than 6,000 from civilians.
In 2013, in the parliamentarian elections, Egyptians stood in long queues waiting to put their votes in the ballot boxes for hours; some stayed for 5 hours happily under rain to exercise their right for the first time in their life. Then, we knew that our vote really matters and we can get choose whoever we want to represent us. There was wide participation from all the political spectrums, including: Islamist, secular, liberal, and national parties, and others. Although there were political tension and polarization that were remarkable at the time, but this was part of the new phase in Egypt. You can’t imagine people who have been deprived from the right to engage in politics for decades to present an attitude of established systems and established democracies.
Women, elderly, youth, all categories took part in the political process, including the parliamentary elections, the referendum on Constitution, or the presidential election in 2012.
In the presidential election of 2012, Egypt had more than 10 candidates, many TV interviews, and every candidate presented his plan and agenda in case he wins. As I was myself in the campaign of Dr. Morsi, I felt there is a real competition. We had to move through every city in Egypt, hold many events and rallies, talk on TV shows, present our agenda and plan to every sector in society, monitor opponents, and participate in many other activities. Yes, polarization was there, but freedom was there too, and it was much more important. Egyptians chose Dr. Morsi, an Islamist.
Taking a snap shot of today’s election, Sisi has purged all his candidates, putting some in prison, and others have been ordered to keep silent to avoid detention. Shafiq, the second runner in 2012 elections, was deported from UAE in a private plan when he announced his interest to become a candidate in the presidential election of 2018. Sami Anan, who used to be the army chief, was arrested weeks ago and put in military prison two days after he announced his candidacy. Abdel-Moneim Abul Fotuh, who was a candidate in 2012 and got almost 4 million votes, was arrested weeks ago after criticizing the regime in a TV interview. Egypt today is big prison. The only candidate running against Sisi is someone who was campaigning for him; and the regime pushed him to submit his papers for election a short time before the deadline. His name is Mousa Mostafa, and he himself says he is not running against Sisi; he is only doing this to make it appear better.
The dream of democracy and freedom has never ended in Egypt. Today, Egyptians are giving the regime a lesson of boycotting the elections, according to the last study by the Egyptian center of surveys; only 2.6% is likely to show up in the election this time. We will wait still to hear the coming lie from the regime. The regime is politically naked and the stick has almost fully eroded…
By Yahya Hamid: Former minister of investment of Egypt, Advisor to H.E. Dr. Morsi, the first elected president in Egypt’s history.