Ibrahim El-Husseini, a leader in the Tagammo' Party and director of Democratic Gathering for Development & Human rights in Shubra El Khaima, explained the boycott was a result of the thoroughly flawed election process, serious violations, and the illegitimacy of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) that launched it. Husseini said that the April 6 Movement, the Democratic Labour Party (under formation), and other left-wing leaders, had cooperated and organised presentations entitled "Liars!" for the people of Shubra al-Khaima. Exposing violations of the Military Council, these presentations indicated the revolution would continue against the Military Council who persisted in their violations and against traditional political forces that held elections without any real democratic standards.
Well-known trade union leader Mohammed Ouf, former parliamentary candidate in the 2005 elections, agreed with Husseini, describing what happened currently as a farce starring the Islamic forces and the Military Council. Ouf said these forces failed to hold the former regime accountable for deaths, and even showing forgiveness and lack of accountability for crimes the army themselves had committed through the year.
'Liars!' exposes the SCAF and the MB
Ouf and his colleagues took advantage of the two election days to arrange public meetings for people living in Shubra al-Khaima, showcasing their vision of the elections and the reasons for their boycott by broadcasting video clips showing army violations, and exposing what Ouf called 'the new National Democratic Party' (NDP) in the form of Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The elections under way, said Ouf, do not differ in their management and outcome from what took place during the Mubarak era; the difference is that the MB commits the same violations and fraud under the oarmy's protection instead of State Security protection during Mubarak. Ouf said the winners and losers in these elections were in fact all in a position to lose, especially since 90% of the votes were given out of fear of the voting fine, as reflected in the percentage of votes in the second and third stages. This revealed that the confidence of the Egyptians in the elections is still highly questionable.
No to reducing the revolution to boxes in enemy hands
Gamal Zahran, former parliamentarian from Shubra Al Khaima and political science professor at Suez Canal University, noted that the boycott of these elections is a result of its defective legislation which does not allow hundreds of independent candidates to run. Zahran described what is happening as a reduction of the revolution in to absurd boxes for enemies of the revolution to reap what they had not sown.
Zahran had held public meetings in his constituency, at which he spoke of the anti-revolution spirit of elections, saying no one had a plan to put an end to chronic conditions that had led them to the revolution. Poverty and unemployment – against which people had revolted – do not seem to be on the agenda of the current government or of parliamentary hopefuls. This is clear in the failure to purge elections of countless candidates that were former members of the corrupt NDP. Low participation in Shubra al-Khaima, added Zahran, indicated that people wanted to ignore this farce, and boycotting elections was the only solution available.
A more positive approach to the scenario was revealed by another group in Shubra Al Khaima. Member of the April 6 Movement, Abdullah Kamal, said, "We boycotted [the elections], but we did not sit at home. We organised a campaign to expose the remnants [former NDPs] at election campaigns, and took advantage of the presence of voters outside polling booths to distribute leaflets calling for people to go down to the main squares on the first anniversary of the revolution, to expose the illegitimacy of military trials. The reluctance of the poor and marginalised people to vote confirms that the justifications for the revolution are still there."
*Uncredited pictures provided by the journalist.