Every time I decide to go and vote in Egyptian parliamentary elections, I face the same dilemma: there is nobody I want to vote for! Either vote for the National Democratic Party (NDP) candidate, who usually has no clear agenda, an unimpressive political history and reputation, and most importantly, represents a party that has been ruling the country for decades without many significant achievements. Or vote for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidates, with their ambiguous agendas regarding the rights of religious minorities and women, and a possible intention to establish a religious state in Egypt.
This dilemma faces the majority of Egyptians if they decide to get engaged in political elections. There is a clear political vacuum in the country. Egypt actually has more than twenty parties, however the majority of them have no actual influence or presence in the political arena. They are commonly referred to as “cartoon parties.” During the last three decades, the National Democratic Party, supported by all governmental institutions and thirty years of emergency laws, manages to hinder the role of other political parties allowing only the banned Muslim Brotherhood Organization to play a controlled role in the political arena.
This has allowed the Egyptian regime to use the Muslim Brotherhood as a scare tactic in the face of local and international calls for democracy in Egypt. The regime became the only acceptable option for the international community and in particular the U.S. administration. Claims that ending emergency laws and holding free elections will allow the Muslim Brotherhood to rule Egypt are continuously used by the regime supporters to justify the slow path of democratic reforms in the country.
Next week, the elections will be held. It will probably feature some violations and fraud and the National Democratic Party will win the vast majority of seats leaving very few spots to some of the tamed independent opposition candidates and the Muslim Brotherhood.