Report

Low Turnout for Egyptian Parliamentary Election

Few Egyptians bothered to vote on Sunday, the first day polling stations opened in the country’s parliamentary elections. Egypt has been without a parliament since it was dissolved by a court order in June 2012. The government announced that public sector employees will receive half the day off on Monday to encourage higher voter turnout, ...

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Few Egyptians bothered to vote on Sunday, the first day polling stations opened in the country’s parliamentary elections. Egypt has been without a parliament since it was dissolved by a court order in June 2012. The government announced that public sector employees will receive half the day off on Monday to encourage higher voter turnout, but experts expect only about a third of the country to vote and one district in Cairo saw only 10 percent turnout on Sunday, Reuters reports. Many voters have been discouraged by the slate of candidates, who are widely perceived as overly-supportive of President Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi. The leading list of candidates, a coalition called “For Love of Egypt,” includes many politicians from ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party. “It’s really a parliament … to keep things as they are, to give an image of democracy,” Hazem Hosny, political science professor at Cairo University, told AFP.

In a televised speech on Saturday, Sisi particularly encouraged youth participation in the election, saying that he hoped they would “be the driving force in this celebration of democracy.” Officials at polling stations told Reuters that voters skewed toward the elderly. “The youth in Egypt, our ambition in 2011, we were going to build the country — but then suddenly it was stolen from us,” a 34-year-old Egyptian man told Reuters. “Ninety-nine percent of my friends are not going to vote.”

Leader of Khorasan Group Killed in Syria

The leader of Jabhat al-Nusra’s external operations cell, sometimes called the Khorasan Group, was killed in an airstrike in northwest Syria on Thursday, U.S. officials said. Abdul Mohsen Adballah Ibrahim al-Charekh, also known as Sanafi al-Nasr, is the fifth Khorasan Group official killed in the last four months. The strike against him came just three days after a coalition airstrike killed David Drugeon, an al-Qaeda bombmaker operating in Aleppo.

Headlines

  • Turkish authorities arrested approximately 50 people in Istanbul in 17 police raids this morning for their associations of Europe.

 

  • With “adoption day” for the Iran nuclear agreement on Sunday, the United States and European Union took formal legal steps to waive sanctions, effective when Iran demonstrates it has brought its nuclear program in line with the agreement.

 

  • The Sudanese government has deployed 300 troops to Aden, Yemen, to secure the city as part of the Saudi-led coalition that intervened to dislodge Houthi rebels.

 

  • An Israeli soldier was killed when a man seized his gun and shot him, and an Eritrean asylum seeker was beaten to death when he was mistaken for the assailant by an angry mob in an incident in Beersheva; several others were wounded in the fracas, say Israeli police.

 

  • In a television interview this morning, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed that Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian-made drone on Friday, but noted that it was unclear who was operating it and that it could have belonged to the Syrian military or Kurdish militias.

Arguments and Analysis

The Difference between Voting and Democracy: Egypt’s Upcoming Parliamentary Race” (Timothy E. Kaldas, Tahrir Institute for Middle East Politics)

“An electoral law written to produce a fractured parliament, the regime-oriented nature of the leading party list, rampant political repression, and a media unwilling or unable to function as a critical observer of the state combine to give little reason to hope that the next parliament will contribute to Egypt’s political progress. The president’s preemptive belittling of the constitutional checks on his power only exacerbates observers’ concerns. Egypt need not stuff ballot boxes to rig an election. There are many more sophisticated methods for achieving such a goal, and the regime has spent decades developing them.”

 

An Iranian’s Advice: Mind Your Own Business” (Frederic C. Hof, SyriaSource)

“During recently concluded track two discussions with senior, non-official Iranians, one Iranian participant delivered a piece of Dutch Uncle advice to his American counterparts. ‘Forget about Assad’s Syria. The United States has no interests there. Refugees? They are problems for Syria’s neighbors and for Western Europe: not America. Be rational: pursue your own interests.’  A discussion of mass homicide in Syria produced the same Iranian response: ‘Yes, what is happening is bad. But what is your interest?’”

-J. Dana Stuster

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

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