Letters

Egypt elections

The Editorial, “No surprises” (April 2) on Egypt’s elections, has tried to depict a constructed version of reality that implies irregularities during the presidential elections. Unfortunately, the “surprise” was that the arguments were based on a selective account and interpretation of events that overlook the fact that the President came to power in 2014 after winning a presidential election with more than 96% of the vote of the millions of electorates who felt betrayed by the Muslim Brotherhood hijacking their dream of freedom that they fought for in 2011, and that a similar majority re-elected him for a second term to complete the economic and political reforms that he started in 2014.

The Editorial is based on a couple of self-defeating arguments that have described the election as “anything but democratic”, while admitting, ironically, that “this doesn’t deny Mr. Sisi’s support base”. It didn’t even provide any evidence of fraud or irregularities that breached the election process. In fact, independent non-governmental national and international organisations that observed the entire electoral process, including overseeing polling stations and checking vote counts, didn’t report any irregularities.

According to Egypt’s National Elections Authority, 25 million people voted, which is about 42% of the electorate. President Al Sisi won a second term with 92% of the total votes, while his opponent, the leader of the Al Ghad Party, Moussa Mustafa Moussa, netted 3%; 5% of the votes were invalid. These results indicate the broad support for President Al Sisi to achieve the pledges he gave in order to create an environment conducive to democracy and development.

The Editorial has adopted an ethical self-righteous attitude by stating that the rationale of the majority President Al Sisi enjoys stems from the fact that “sections of Egyptian society prize the country’s stability above all else…”; it is needless to say that the electorate is entitled to its priorities and motivations. Furthermore, it is worth noting that Egyptians not only voted for stability, though in itself a justifiable cause against the backdrop of the regional upheaval and its fallouts on the country, but they also gave President Al Sisi a mandate to continue along the democratic path that started in 2011 and was reemphasised in 2013, as well as resuming the efforts that he had started to push forward economic reforms and maintain the high growth rates the country is currently witnessing.

The Editorial says that a number of opposition candidates were forced to withdraw from the contest, ignoring thefact that a number of those who announced their intent to contest withdrew for different reasons — some of them were related to juridical grounds of candidacy or procedural steps required for running for elections, and others for personal reasons.

Finally, references to the trials of Hosni Mubarak and members of the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is designated as a terrorist group according to Egyptian law, have been clarified in rejoinders put out by the Embassy on earlier occasions and published in this daily. The legal basis to these were also explained on these occasions.

By having these important elections, Egypt, as the largest country in the region, would be taking another step to consolidate political reforms in a way that responds to the will of the Egyptian people. Any assessment of the political measures being taken so far needs to recognise that democratisation is a long-term process involving various social and political dynamics that shape the path for democracy.

Hatem Tageldin,

Ambassador,

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt,

New Delhi

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 4:06:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/egypt-elections/article23437401.ece

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