With Egypt’s first democratic elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak now less than a day away, voter confusion and the complexity of the process threaten to undermine the balloting — assuming, that is, that renewed unrest doesn’t sideline voting altogether. For much of the past week, campaigning and party politics were largely set aside, as anti-regime protests and violent clashes with Egyptian security forces commanded most of the country’s attention.
Now, several revolutionary activists insist that unless the ruling military regime that has governed Egypt since February promises to turn over power to a civilian president, the vote for a parliament shouldn’t go forward at all. Many of them have once again taken to Tahrir Square, the site of the original revolution earlier this year, and pledged to stay there until the military yields.
But with a voting process that was invented entirely by the military regime this spring, and which at times seems designed to confound, many observers say there could be trouble ahead even without a spike in violence on election day or a dedicated boycott movement. “Even without Tahrir, there are a million ways this could be a disaster,” one Western election observer said this weekend, after being briefed on the intricacies of the process.
International election observers, who arrived in Cairo in droves over the weekend, say the system for electing a parliament from nearly 7,000 candidates is needlessly complex and time-consuming. The vote will take place over two days, plus a third run-off period, a process that will be repeated twice more in different regions of the country over the course of a month and a half.
Full Article: In Egypt, Elections Process Complexity Threatens Vote.