Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Egyptian military complicates first-ever vote

Parliamentary elections will last six weeks

Cairo – People dragged their elderly relatives to the polls on this second day of parliamentary voting to avoid a punitive fine of about $85 U.S. if they don't vote, or if they cast absentee ballots.

News reports attribute the massive turnout on Monday to this factor alone as long lines separated by gender – men with men and women with women – wait patiently to cast their ballots.

The ruling military junta threw the complicating monkey wrench in the gears during the often violent and always frustrating 10-month transition from the rule of 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak and the current chaos of a military junta in which the popular vote will extend over a six week period in each of 27 provinces – divided into thirds – with a runoff held in each one a week after the first round.

If that's not complicated enough, voters are required to pick two individuals and one alliance or party slate. International power brokers are watching with keen interest because Egypt has long served as a counterweight in the complicated balance of power between radical Islamist nations and the more moderate Arabian Peninsula states which produce a huge percentage of the world's petroleum.

The mechanics of the situation have apparently left most of the nation's 50 million eligible voters confused and undecided.

Most are in agreement that the primary issue at hand is whether this ancient land of the Pharaoh will remain a secular nation, or revert to an Islamic theocracy.

Muslim Brotherhood operatives are swarming the polling places, whispering in peoples' ears to tell them how to vote in the complicated process. Reportedly, their fliers litter the ground near every election site. Handicappers favor their influence and predict they will have a heavy influence in the outcome of the elections, which won't be completed until March.

People leave the polls scratching their heads, not sure just what they accomplished, though it's agreed that this is the first-ever and cleanest chance they've ever seen to change matters to their liking.

Dr. Mohamed Badie, chairman of the Brotherhood, accused the Egyptian security police and the military of serving as a "hidden hand" to stoke the flames of the violent protests that occurred in advance of the parliamentary elections.

Dr. Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt after the collapse of the Ottoman Adherents believe in Islamic jihad as both a political and a religious doctrine. They actively work to promote both. Mr. al-Banna was a devout supporter of the politics of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in the thirties as that regime rose in power to provoke World War II and impose a "final solution" in the attempted extermination of European Jewry.

Extreme violence has rocked the major population centers of Cairo and Alexandria as Arab Spring protesters occupying Tahrir Square and other key urban hub areas engaged security police and regular Army troopers in demanding an immediate ouster of the military forces that dominate the revolutionary political atmosphere.

Many thousands of people have laid down their lives fighting the soldiers, who are heavily armed with firearms, munitions, tear gas, body armor, tanks, armored personnel carriers, and communications gear supplied by theU.S. military, with little more than rocks and sticks. They use their cell phones and the social network to marshal their forces and have occupied their headquarters grounds for more than a year.

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