There is a frenzied push for people to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections so that the turnout can be large enough to prevent the Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood from winning.
But the question here is: why is there such apathy toward the elections? I attribute it to measures that were taken in order to strip the elections of competition and manipulate the outcome. This has reduced motivation on the part of the voters, who feel their participation would not make any difference.
There were attempts to rally for a single national accord list that represents all political parties and forces under the pretext of safeguarding the unity of the homeland, which contradicts the competitive nature of any election.
Unfortunately, those attempts were backed by state officials, including a veteran prime minister and leaders of the security services who pressured certain candidates to withdraw from the elections. That is why we hear candidates talking as if they have already won in advance.
Such interventions strip the whole process of its credibility. The integrity of elections is not confined to the ballots alone. It really stems from the laws that govern the process and prevent interference or pressure by the state.
The “For the Love of Egypt” list, which uses President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s picture as its symbol, is perceived as the flagship of the elections. Other lists and candidates have been removed, not only from the electoral process but from political life as a whole, on charges of attempting to jeopardize the stability of the country simply because they do not fly with the same flock.
No wonder we hear talk about a futile parliament and a low turnout. All of this was deliberately engineered with premeditation.
Entire streams were excluded on pretexts of them being too weak, if not traitors of a fifth column. The result of the elections has already been fabricated before they even started and political life has already been eliminated. When were there ever elections without competition?
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm