News Release

Egyptian Election: “Farce” or “Quest for Security”?


Writes CNN: “Former Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is poised to win the country’s presidential election in a landslide — though the fairness of the vote has been questioned. Exit polls suggest el-Sisi won 95.3 percent of the vote…”

SHERIEF GABER, sgaber at, @cairocitylimits
Gaber is a member of the Mosireen Independent Media Collective in Cairo, and a researcher focusing on housing rights and social justice issues. He said today, “It should be said that this is a farce mimicking an ‘election,’ and not even a terribly well orchestrated farce. Between the glaringly repressive conditions leading up to the vote, as well as the ridiculous 11th hour decision by the elections committee to extend voting by another day, there’s nothing democratic about what’s happened here.”

EMAD MEKAY, emad_mekay at
Mekay is a California-based reporter specializing in the Middle East. He worked for the New York Times and Bloomberg News. He is a former John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University and a former investigative reporting fellow at U. C. Berkeley. He said today: “I’ve covered many elections in the Middle East. With the exception of the ephemeral electoral experience of the ‘Arab Spring,’ many of them were actually rigged. This Egypt presidential election is a return to the rigged past of Mubarak. It is almost comical.

“The military junta must feel that the West is so much on their side that they are so brazen in their rigging attempts. They are not as subtle as Mubarak. … The popular boycott was massive and yet the military junta, which runs the local media, would have us believe that the turnout was huge.

“In the West, those who buy the Sisi results are really enablers of the new brutal dictatorship that is taking root there. They are so blinded by their fear of all things Islamic, that they’d rather support a bloodbath than see a democratic, but Islamic, regime replace the military junta.” See: “U.S. Lawmaker Vows to Block U.S. Military Aid to Egypt.”

GHADA TALHAMI, talhami at
Talhami is emeritus professor in the department of politics at Lake Forest College. Her books include The Mobilization of Muslim Women in Egypt. She said today: “Western observers may see the abstaining of large sectors of the Egyptian public from the current elections as an indictment of army rule, but a closer look reveals greater issues at play. If, as has been drummed by human rights advocates, Western governments and Egypt’s religious right, al-Sisi’s credibility has been greatly damaged by his crackdown on political opponents and residual forces of the January 25 uprising, then the electoral dent inflicted on al-Sisi’s legend is perfectly understandable. But what is being underestimated here is the apparent apathy of the non-Islamic and non-revolutionary forces, for as in all revolutions, the struggle between the forces of freedom and the primal quest for security usually take center-stage. In Egypt’s case, the quest for security is being interpreted currently as concern over domestic security and stability. Concern for Egypt’s strategic security and the safety of its external borders, however, has always been at the core of the military’s psyche.”