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Egyptian voters fear invisible hand guiding Shafiq to power
Cynicism and frustration leads some voters, convinced counter-revolutionary forces already have results sewn up,to stay at home on the second day of polling in Egypt's presidential election runoff
Dina Ezzat, Sunday 17 Jun 2012
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Egyptians queued to choose a new leader on Saturday in the first free presidential election in their
Egyptians queued to choose a new leader on Saturday in the first free presidential election in their history, facing a stark choice between a conservative Islamist and a former military officer who served ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak (Photo by: Reuters)

"Why should I vote? My vote doesn't count and the picture is very clear – they want (Ahmed) Shafiq and they are going to make him the next president whoever we vote for," said Hussein, a Cairo taxi driver.

For Hussein "they" are the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and his words reflect the cynicism of many Egyptians about the presidential election runoff, which comes just days after parliament was dissolved and a law barring former regime figures from standing for political office was struck down.

At the age of 63, this retired civil servant who turned to driving taxis because his pension was "good for nothing," voted for the Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi in the presidential election first round.

 "At the time I thought we were having real elections but now I know it's a soap opera; just like the Ramadan TV series," Hussein said.

He said he thought other candidates had a better chance than Sabbahi of making it to the runoff, such as Amr Moussa, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh and Mohamed Morsi, but when he saw Shafiq had made it to the runoff with Morsi, he said, "now it is clear, they want Shafiq and they are forcing people to choose between him and the Brotherhood so that he can win."

"I have no interest in either candidate and I'd rather spend the day working instead of queuing up at the polling station to waste my vote," Hussein concluded.

In many areas of Cairo, the polling stations were much quieter than during polling in the first round on 23-24 May.

"There is no point taking a day off to vote when I know in advance that Shafiq is going to win and when I know I cannot vote for him, or for Morsi, for that matter," said Sara, a sales assistant at one of Cairo's upscale shopping malls.

Sara said she could "never vote for Shafiq because if we vote for Shafiq, why did we have the revolution in the first place?"

Shafiq was appointed prime minister by Hosni Mubarak during the first week of the revolution and was removed less than a month after he was toppled.

Sara said she could not vote for the Brotherhood's candidate Mohamed Morsi out of fear that "he would change Egypt in every way."

She said she was particularly concerned he would deny women the right to work.

There were, however, people voting out of conviction, and not merely for the "lesser evil", as many voters appear to have done.

"Of course I voted for Shafiq – who else," said Nadine, an employee at a PR company. "There is no way that I would have voted for Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood is out of the question," she insisted.

As far as Nadine was concerned, Shafiq might not be compatible with the goals of the revolution but she was against the revolution from the start and said it was an act of "foreign intervention in Egypt's affairs."

Shafiq is the right man "to restore the situation," she added.

Dalia, who did not go to Tahrir Square during the 18 days of the revolution, said, "I chose to vote for Morsi because I believe that change is exactly what this country needs."

However, Dalia said she was sure Shafiq was going to be the elected president: "They (the SCAF) have done everything to show that they are backing him, but I said to myself I would do what I have to do so I can feel at peace with myself."

Dalia is "convinced" the SCAF is restructuring the Mubarak regime piece by piece.

"Yes they are; the SCAF dissolved the freely-elected parliament and they pushed Shafiq into the second round when we all knew that his nomination was a joke in the first place," Dalia said. "Let's face it, the revolution is over; Shafiq is coming anyway."

 





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Lee
17-06-2012 11:10pm
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Morsi will close Egypt
As a UK ex-pat living by the Red Sea but with totally Egyptian friends and associates, I would like to make the following comments. If Morsi is successful in his horrendous claim to the Presidency, the majority of Europeans will leave Egypt. Lock the doors and turn out the lights. If the MB wants Egypt to be like Yemen, Iran, Saudi etc, then the Egyptians have voted for it. Say goodbye to the rest of your lives as you will be ruled by religion, whatever your personal preferences or views. Shafiq is not a perfect candidate at all, but he will only be there for 4 years, to enable the transition to a new Egypt. Morsi will install laws unnaceptable to the majority of people but you will be stuck with them. The MB will cancel all democratic improvements that have been fought for in the revolution. Morsi claims that Shafiq is a counter-revolutionary - yet the MB were nowhere to be seen during the revolution and have proved themselves to be lying cowards who just want to con
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3



Riyadh
17-06-2012 09:57pm
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The Islamists are the only democrats in Egypt
We are Egyptians, Arabs and Muslims. Without Islam, we are nothing. Those who don't want Islam in Egypt should at least accept the rule of the ballot box. Unfortuntely, there are some Copts, gays, and athiests who only pay lib service to democracy. They are pseudo-democrats. The Islamists seem to be the only democrats in Egypt, while the secularists and enemies of the Islamists don't seem to believe in real democracy.
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ahmed
17-06-2012 08:07pm
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shafiq will ruin the country
I dont understand your comment Hos - you seem to be pro revolution by your comment but then you have voted shafiq - and you are calling others stupid?
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Hos
17-06-2012 03:19pm
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Psychic Egyptians can't see how not voting for Shaf will avoid Shari'a
Egyptians would just throw their vote away instead of thinking of what Sharia would do to everyone. I've grown to hate these Arabs who impose their ways upon us. We are Egyptians, not Arabs. Shafik is the one I chose. MB messed up the revolution by the things they did to seize control in the first place. Egytians are too emotional for our own good and don't seem to think straight. Maybe Sharia will make them see how stupid their staying home will hurt us all. Dalia is a psychic like everyone else right? Stupid people.
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