Friday, June 1, 2012

Mubarak trial and troubled elections threaten to further divide Egypt

For many Egyptians, the wait for justice has been gruelling – but fears of an equally repressive successor could reignite protests

Jack Shenker in Cairo, Friday 1 June 2012

"......Barely one in 10 of Egypt's eligible voters cast their ballot for Shafik in the first round, but low turnout, a pro-revolutionary vote that was fatally split between rival candidates, and what some commentators claim were electoral irregularities in Shafik's favour, have elevated to within a whisker of the presidency a man who perfectly embodies the repressive apparatus Egyptians revolted to overthrow.

After Shafik's triumph, Saturday's verdict has crystallised the worst fears of many – the ancién regime is back.

"Mubarak's [ruling] NDP was never a political party in the real sense of the word," argues Hani Shukrallah, veteran journalist and editor-in-chief of Ahram Online
"It was a giant network of state patronage, in which the intermarriage of money and power, businessmen and bureaucrats at the very top was replicated down to the remotest hamlet in the country.

"In the parliamentary elections [which ran from November to January and delivered a strong victory for political Islamists] that network was in total disarray, but now they've been able to organise themselves again.

"Just like old times they are preying on fears of violence and chaos, pushing for confrontation in an effort to ensure the Egyptian people tire of revolution and welcome a return to 'stability'. If Mubarak is found innocent – and I don't believe we will see a conviction, particularly not on the unlawful killing charges – the violence is going to intensify."......."

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