Khaled El Bakly, the Ambassador of Egypt to India (and Bhutan), responds to the Editorial headlined “The President others want,” on the Egyptian presidential elections, published on June 3:
The comments made in the Editorial require some clarifications and corrections.
First, initial statements coming from international observers who participated in the monitoring of the elections, including the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and others, stated that no irregularities marred the election process.
Second, any comments at this moment related to the political situation in Egypt, or future positions and stands on domestic, regional or international relations, would be immature because the newly elected president is not yet sworn in to make his announcements on them. And whatever the announced policies would be, the elected president has already been guaranteed an overwhelming support by the people of Egypt, and not of any other country.
Third, the expectations from the upcoming political set-up in Egypt will be to achieve economic development and restore security. The demands of Egyptians in two consecutive revolutions were focussed on achieving social justice and political freedoms. After seeing two former presidents in jail, no future leader will stop short in his efforts to achieve these goals.
Fourth, Egyptians are gradually making their vote matter. Democracy is a culture that requires time to mature and institutions to nurture. Political participation during Hosni Mubarak’s time didn’t exceed 15 per cent; while the recent elections saw 48 per cent participation. Those who closely followed the election process know that both candidates rejected the third day’s extension. While lots of people considered it not necessary, it was not an illegal move by the election commission. It was meant to provide an opportunity for migrant workers to travel back to their constituencies and cast their vote.
Fifth, Egypt and the Egyptians never stopped — under any leadership and in all circumstances — and will continue their support to the Palestinian people and the achievement of a peaceful, comprehensive and just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Our efforts to support the peace talks and the Palestinian reconciliation are a testimony to this. What we expect from The Hindu and other newspapers is to explain to readers the responsibilities of the occupying power, Israel, according to international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions.
Egyptians have consciously made their choice, and as we respect the choices of others our expectations of them are likewise.