Egypt’s sham election

Egypt’s President – once General, now Field Marshal, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi – has earned another title: Mr 97 per cent. In an election held at the end of March, Sisi retained Egypt’s presidency with 97 per cent of the valid votes – the same percentage he won in 2014, when he first took the office. The Egyptian election authority claimed that 41 per cent of the electorate turned out, a figure that seems highly unlikely, at least if the countless photographs of deserted polling stations are anything to go by.

The kind of crude rural vote-buying that is de rigueur in most poor countries certainly went on. The regime bought large numbers of votes in the countryside, often for sugar. In an effort to pump the turnout numbers, the election authority threatened to fine non-voters, another well-worn trick. There were also some innovations: on the first day of the election the governor of Beheira province pledged that the villages with the highest turnout would be rewarded by having their water and drainage fixed…

April 19

About Tom Stevenson
Tom Stevenson is an Independent North Africa reporter

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