Saturday, 26 May 2012

Presidential Election Egypt: Pray for a Miracle

As preliminary results in Egypt's post revolution presidential election start emerging, and as my first feeling of shock subsides, I find myself praying for a miracle. Please let Hamdeen Sabahi get just enough votes to take him to the second round. I find myself hoping that somewhere in Egypt throughout the final counting phase, more people will have voted for him than for Ahmed Shafiq or Mohamed Mursi.

Someone out there is laughing right now. If people craved stability and a man of stature, why Ahmed Shafiq and not Amr Moussa. And if they craved a political Islamist candidate why Mohamed Mursi and not Abd El Moneim Aboul Fotouh? Amr Moussa and Abd El Moneim Aboul Fotouh had performed well in polls the previous weeks.

I have a confession to make. I wasn't able to vote in this round. Currently residing abroad, I failed to register on time. I was not aware that the registration deadline for Egyptians abroad was over more than a month before the election. I had all the intention to vote, but could not with regret. 

As the 23rd of May approached, I remember planning who I would vote for in spirit, but I remember it wasn't easy. None of the candidates ticked all the boxes. The candidate who did, wasn't in the race anymore: Mohamed El Baradei, who I would have given my wholehearted support to. In the absence of Mohamed El Baradei, I shortlisted five candidates with potential and I came to the following conclusions: 

I liked Abd El Monein Aboul Fotouh. There's something genuine about him. I  liked his vision of a "Stronger Egypt," and his moderate and considered view of Islam. Aboul Fotouh stands for the word tolerance. I could imagine Aboul Fotouh take Egypt forward to an advanced democratic nation. My only reservation was a lack of clarity about his political Islamist agenda.

My second journey took me further left to Hamdeen Sabahi, a socialist Nasserist dreamer. He is the revolutionary spirit who brings with him the promise of a democratic utopian Egypt. Convinced by his project, I decided that he would be a potential candidate, I could vote for in spirit. I had faith that he would not betray the three mantras: freedom, social justice and dignity. But I don't agree with his belligerent stance on the peace treaty with Israel.

I then took a look at Amr Moussa. I found his experience and stature as a seasoned international diplomat to be a plus. Amr Moussa embodies the qualities of a statesman. I also had an ounce of hope that he would take Egypt through this next trying phase with a degree of earnestness. But his past ties with the Mubarak regime made him a difficult choice.

Reformist judge Hisham El Bastawisi seems like a man with integrity. An esteemed man of the law, Hisham El Bastawisi is likeable and sincere. But there was too little momentum behind him.

Khaled Ali, the youngest candidate and a human rights lawyer, I discovered was another sincere candidate I had come across. His values and programme resonated with me, but he lacked enough support to take him through to the second round. Having said that, Khaled Ali was the candidate I would have voted for with a good conscience.

If I had to describe each presidential candidate using a few words, I would say the following: Abd El Moneim Aboul Fotouh would stand for tolerance; Hamdeen Sabahi would be the utopian dreamer; Amr Moussa would be the statesman, Hisham El Bastawisi would be the man of principle and Khaled Ali would be the humanist. 

In an ideal world the five would have worked together. But we're not in an ideal world. Right now the facts indicate that in less than a month, an arch supporter of the former regime will be in a run-off against the candidate of a conservative political Islamist party. But till that moment arrives, I pray that the numbers change in favour of Hamdeen Sabahi. 

No comments:

Post a Comment