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Rigged Elections

The only choice for Egypt--literally.

The Constitution of Egypt did not allow people to directly vote for president until 2005. Instead, the People’s Assembly nominated the President term after term, and the people were given the opportunity to confirm him through their vote–but not to vote him out.

The People’s Assembly (Majlis ash-Sha’ab), which nominates him, is comprised of 454 members, 444 of whom are elected for a five-year term and 10 of whom are appointed by the president. Thanks to the Emergency Laws, which effectively allow the regime to suppress opposition parties, Egypt has been a one-party state for decades with the National Democratic Party winning nearly all the seats election after election–and then renominating for president the very man who suppresses their opposition.

Many Egyptians believe that wealthy men simply turn over suitcases of cash to the party leaders to get permission to serve in Parliament, as portrayed in the hugely successful novel The Yacoubian Building.

The complete lack of faith people have in their “democracy” can be seen by the fact that every citizen over the age of eighteen is required by law to vote under penalty of fines or  even imprisonment–yet only40 percent of people are registered to vote, and actual turnout can fall as low as 10 percent (in 1999).

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