Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PoliticsEgypt: Parliamentary Elections: Polls now closed, Christians fear Freedom and Justice party Muslim-Brotherhood-dominated Shariahist5s

Christian Science Monitor (November29,2k11)
—Reposted by Politicarp

Today Egyptians are wrapping up the first of several rounds of voting for the first Egyptian parliament since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak. Two-thirds of the parliamentary seats will be chosen via a proportional list system, and the other third will be chosen as individual candidates.
Every voter will choose two candidates from their governorate and one local list of candidates, often including candidates from multiple parties. The more votes a list gets, the more candidates on its list will be in parliament.
Below are the options facing Egyptians as they go to the polls. 
Ariel ZirulnickStaff writer

The Democratic Alliance for Egypt 
The Democratic Alliance for Egypt, which counts among its members the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), was the first electoral coalition to emerge after Egypt’s uprising. The alliance extended an offer of membership to every party in Egypt, and began with 28 parties. Its membership surged to 40 at one point, but has since dropped to 11 [parties] and is now dominated by the FJP.

According to Egypt Elections Watch – produced by online magazines Jadaliyya and Ahram Online with the Arab studies programs at Georgetown University and George Mason University – the FJP tops the Alliance’s electoral lists. 
The FJP is fielding more than 500 candidates in the parliamentary elections, compared with only 16 from Al Karama Party and 15 from Ghad Al-Thawra. These are the only significant parties other than FJP that are left in the alliance, according to Egypt Elections Watch. 
Some prominent parties who were initially members left the coalition:

  • Al-Wafd Party
  •  – this liberal party left the coalition in October, saying that there wasn’t enough room for both parties on the Alliance’s electoral lists; the incompatibility between the FJP’s Islamist agenda and Al-Wafd’s secular emphasis created problems.
  • Al-Nour Party
– this Salafist party said it left because it was being “marginalized” by the liberal parties in the Alliance’s decisionmaking process; some observers say it actually left because the Brotherhood was crowding out its candidates at the top of the lists 
      – this Salafist party said it left because it was being “marginalized” by the liberal parties in the Alliance’s decisionmaking process; some observers say it actually left because the Brotherhood was crowding out its candidates at the top of the lists
    "The Copts should blend into Egyptian society and there should not be a religious symbol (in politics) that would influence people's decision," said Emad Abdel Ghafour, head of the ultra-conservative Islamist Salafi Al-Nour party." -- See Reuters article below "Egypt’s Christians seek to be heard in election where Islamists favoured".

    • Democratic Front Party
    • – said it left because a partnership with Islamist groups violated its principles
    • Al-Tagammu Party
    • objected to Islamist members’ calls for the establishment of an Islamic state and sharia

    Reuters Blog (November 29, 2k11)
    — Reposted here by Politicarp

    Egypt’s Christians seek to be heard

    in election where Islamists favoured

    NOV 29, 2011 13:03 EST
    (A Coptic priest queues to vote outside a polling station in the parliamentary election in Shubra neighbourhood, Cairo November 28, 2011. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
    Coptic Christians are trying to make their voices heard in Muslim-majority Egypt’s parliamentary election, fearing Islamists could sweep in and deepen their sense of marginalisation.  Egypt’s Christians are reeling from a spate of attacks on churches since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February that they blame on Islamists.
    An October protest over one such attack led to clashes with military police in which 25 [Coptic Christian] people were killed. This has deepened a feeling of isolation in a community that makes up about a tenth of a population of 80 million and whose roots in Egypt pre-date the emergence of Islam.
    Fady Badie, like many Egyptians, voted for the first time in this week’s parliamentary vote, seen as meaningful unlike the rigged polls of Mubarak’s time. But one of [Fady Baidi]s main concerns was to dilute the Islamist vote and voice his other worries.
    “For sure Copts are afraid of this prospect (of Islamists in parliament). We have problems with the military council (of rulers), problems with Islamists and, now this year, we have found we even have problems with the general public,” he said, speaking during voting in the Cairo suburb of Maadi. “If the democratic process is challenged and what happened in Iran happens in Egypt, then I will start really worrying,” he said, adding that he was choosing the Egyptian Bloc alliance, which includes a party co-founded by a Christian billionaire [he's a telecom/media executive-owner].
    The alliance that includes the Free Egyptians party of prominent Christian telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris is a popular choice among Christians and some liberal-leaning Muslims who are equally concerned by the rise of Islamists.
    But the Bloc has drawn unwelcome attention. Supporters blame Islamists for what they say is a smear campaign to deter any Muslim voters from choosing it because of images posted on Facebook saying it is: “The voice for the Egyptian church.”
    It reflects growing sectarian tensions in a nation where rights groups say flare-ups between Muslim and Christian communities that were increasingly common before Mubarak’s ouster have now erupted into even more deadly violence.
    Read the full story by Maha El Dahan and Marwa Awad here.

    No comments: