Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Don’t Ignore Electoral Fraud in Egypt

January 24, 2012 12:01 am 0 comments

Former IAEA Director Mohamed El Baradei. Photo: wiki commons.

When Egypt’s Lower House convened on Jan. 23, Islamists held 360 out of its 498 seats, or 72 percent. This astounding figure, however, reflects less the country’s public opinion than it does a ploy by the ruling military leadership to remain in power.

In a recent article (“Egypt’s Sham Election,” Dec. 6) we argued that just as Anwar El-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak in the past “tactically empowered Islamists as a foil to gain Western support, arms, and money,” so do Mohamed Tantawi and his Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) “still play this tired old game.”

We offered three proofs for this assertion: (1) local electoral deceits; (2) the SCAF offer of a “deal” to the Islamists; and (3) the military having subsidized Islamist political parties. Seven weeks later, various signs point to fraud on a far grander scale.

The Free Egyptians Party, Egypt’s leading classic liberal political party, announced on Jan. 10 that it had filed more than 500 complaints about Lower House elections “but no legal action was taken” in response. The party pulled out of forthcoming Upper House elections because “violators are awarded with electoral gains and those abiding by the laws are punished” and called for their cancelation.

Mohamed ElBaradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) withdrew his candidacy for president on Jan. 14 because of his perception of rigged elections: “My conscience,” he announced, “does not permit me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless it is within a real democratic system.”

Six parliamentary candidates filed official complaints against a range of officials and demanded that the elections be annulled and redone, reports the newspaper El-Badil in its Jan. 10 edition. One of the candidates, a Wafd Party candidate named Ibrahim Kamel, explained how he acquired government documents indicating that fewer than 40 million Egyptians were eligible to vote, while the current elections included 52 million voters, implying 12 million fraudulent ballots. This increase was achieved, he said, by taking the names and identification numbers of legitimate voters and duplicating them between 2 and 32 times in other electoral precincts.

Mamdouh Hamza, head of the Egyptian National Council, an NGO, confirmed this tampering to El-Badil, dubbing it “the biggest crime of fraud in Egyptian history.” He demanded that the Lower House elections be redone from scratch.

In contrast, the victorious Islamists, who despise democracy, made little effort to conceal their electoral success through fraud. Some of them went so far as proudly and unapologetically to assert that it’s their Islamic duty to be dishonest. Tal’at Zahran, a leading Salafi, called the democratic system “infidel,” “criminal,” and “out of the Elders of Zion.” He cynically observed that “it is our duty to forge elections; God will reward us for this.”

Revealingly, Zahran also praised Tantawi: “Just as we gave Mubarak the bay’a [Islamic oath of loyalty], we now support SCAF. If Tantawi decides to stay in power, we will support him until the day he dies.” Reports indicate that Islamists and the military are working smoothly together on such key matters as military autonomy and amending the 1971 constitution. Their cooperation makes sense, for Islamists seek Muslim unity so as to focus full attention on the infidel enemy (especially Jews and Christians).

With so much evidence of fraud at hand, it bewilders us that Western politicians, journalists, and scholars continue to see the shoddy results of the just-concluded Egyptian elections as a valid expression of popular will. Where are the cynical journalists casting doubt on the Salafis coming from nowhere to win 28 percent of the vote? Why do hard-boiled analysts, who see right through rigged elections in Russia and Syria, fall for “the biggest crime of fraud in Egyptian history”? Perhaps because they give Cairo a break on account of it having cooperated with Western powers for nearly 40 years; or perhaps because Tantawi rigs more convincingly.

Given SCAF’s explicit disdain for the election results, we are also surprised that analysts expect these significantly to bear on the country’s future. In fact, SCAF manipulated the recent elections for its own benefit; Islamists are pawns in this drama, not kings. We are witnessing not an ideological revolution but a military officer corps staying dominant to enjoy the sweet fruits of tyranny.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum and Taube fellow at the Hoover Institution. Ms Farahat (CynthiaFarahat.com) is an Egyptian activist and co-author of a book about the Tahrir Square protests.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →