Egypt’s vote won’t calm tur­bu­lent streets

The Kurdish Globe - - REGIONAL -

Egypt's streets are turn­ing into a daily fo­rum for air­ing a range of so­cial dis­con­tents from la­bor con­di­tions to fuel short­ages and the ca­su­al­ties of myr­iad clashes over the past two years.

Par­lia­men­tary elec­tions called over the week­end by the Is­lamist pres­i­dent hold out lit­tle hope for pluck­ing the coun­try out of the tur­moil. If any­thing, the race is likely to fuel more un­rest and push Egypt closer to eco­nomic col­lapse.

"The street has a life of its own and it has lit­tle to do with elec­tions. It is about peo­ple want­ing to make a liv­ing or make ends meet," said Emad Gad, a prom­i­nent an­a­lyst and a former law­maker.

Is­lamist Pres­i­dent Mo­hammed Morsi called for par­lia­men­tary elec­tions to start in late April and be held over four stages end­ing in June. He was obliged un­der the con­sti­tu­tion to set the date for the vote by Satur­day.

"I see that the cli­mate is very agree­able for an elec­tion," Morsi said in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view aired early on Mon­day. He also in­vited all po­lit­i­cal forces to a di­a­logue on Mon­day to en­sure the vote's "trans­parency and in­tegrity."

Morsi's de­cree call­ing for the elec­tion brought a sharp re­ac­tion from Egypt's key op­po­si­tion leader, No­bel Peace Lau- reate Mo­hamed ElBa­radei, who said they would be a "recipe for dis­as­ter" given the po­lar­iza­tion of the coun­try and erod­ing state author­ity.

On Satur­day, ElBa­radei dropped a bomb­shell when he called for a boy­cott of the vote. An ef­fec­tive boy­cott by the op­po­si­tion or wide­spread fraud would call the elec­tion's le­git­i­macy into ques­tion.

But in all like­li­hood, Morsi's Mus­lim Brother­hood and its ul­tra­con­ser­va­tive Salafi al­lies will fare well in the vote. The Brother­hood has dom­i­nated ev­ery elec­tion in the two years since the 2011 upris­ing that ousted au­to­crat Hosni Mubarak.

The mostly sec­u­lar and lib­eral op­po­si­tion will likely trail as they did in the last elec­tion for par­lia­ment's law­mak­ing, lower house in late 2011 and early 2012 — a pat­tern con­sis­tent with ev­ery na­tion­wide elec­tion post-Mubarak.

Pres­i­dent Morsi's Brother­hood- dom­i­nated ad­min­is­tra­tion has been un­able to curb the street protests, strikes and crime that have de­fined Egypt in the two years since the upris­ing.

In fact, the un­rest has only grown more in­tense, more ef­fec­tive and has spread around the coun- try in the nearly eight months that Morsi has been in of­fice.

On any given day, a di­verse va­ri­ety of pro­test­ers across much of the trou­bled na­tion press de­mands of all sorts or voice op­po­si­tion to Morsi and the Brother­hood.

In this Fri­day, Feb. 22, 2013 file photo, Egyp­tian Ul­tras, hard-core soc­cer fans, chant anti-pres­i­dent Mo­hammed Morsi slo­gans while at­tend­ing a rally in front of the pro­vin­cial government head­quar­ters, un­seen, in Port Said, Egypt.

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