Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Egypt: Elections underway

Here is three links which help in understanding Egypt's parliamentary elections and their relationship with the renewed Tahrir protests and occupation, which have now reached their 11th day and show no sign of giving up the Midan.

Firstly, the Guardian's interactive guide is useful for getting a sense of who the forces are and where they stand. All indications are that the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which is in a coalition with some liberal and left parties but itself sits on the centre-right and conservative side of things, is going to win a landslide. If Tunisia's elections are any indicator, they will pick up much of the vote of the people who supported the revolution, but not the revolutionaries themselves. Many in Tahrir & the smaller sit in outside the Cabinet of Ministers building will be boycotting the election, although the call for a boycott went out too late and was up against too much propaganda from the regime, the Brotherhood & other forces to pick up widespread support.

The Tahrir revolutionaries and their supporters who aren't boycotting the elections seem likely to vote for the "Revolution Continues" alliance, which is largely made up of socialist groups (including the Egyptian Socialist Party, whose members I have interviewed earlier in this blog) but also the Current party, which split from the Muslim Brotherhood youth over questions like supporting ongoing protests after February 11. Ahram Online have profiled the coalition's makeup and policies. On November 20 the alliance announced it would be suspending its campaign, but yesterday it signed on to a joint statement stating they would not cancel their campaign, while calling for the public to join the protests.

Meanwhile, Mostafa Ali, a member of the IST-affilated Revolutionary Socialists party, gave an interview with Socialist Worker on what the elections and the last 11 days mean for the mass movement and revolutionary struggle here. Great analysis, especially in discussing the growth of what he calls the "revolutionary vanguard" - although note the sectarian dig at the "Revolution Continues" alliance:

"THE GENERAL feeling in Tahrir is that the SCAF has cut a deal not only with the Brotherhood and the Salafists, but also with the liberals and a section of the left, a coalition called the Revolution Continues. They are going to divide the seats in the new parliament among themselves."
For the record, the few protesters I spoke to today at the #occupycabinet sit-in were all for a boycott, but none claimed that the leftists running in the election had cut a deal with the SCAF.

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