Egypt: Comment: The elections are in danger of provoking a political disaster. The final results will be available on 29 May, but the vast majority of polling stations apparently were free to announce their results without having to wait for the official tally and have done so. The unofficial results are not credible and indicate the election was rigged.
Apparently fewer than 45% of the registered voters participated in the most significant election in Egyptian history. That figure is lower than the numbers who voted in the parliamentary elections and that makes the outcome of these elections suspect. It suggests voters were intimidated to not vote on a broad scale.
Something has gone terribly wrong also because in every country that holds elections the turnout for a presidential election always is larger than for a parliamentary election. But not in Egypt.
In the parliamentary elections, Egyptians voted overwhelmingly against the Mubarak-era candidates. Those men and their parties proved to have no constituency, but that is not the result of the presidential election.
The Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mursi, appears to have obtained sufficient votes to qualify for the runoff election in mid-June. He obtained a plurality of 25 per cent.
The military backed candidate, Mubarak's last prime minister, apparently is a close second with 24 percent of the vote. Prior to the election his polling numbers were insignificant.
Mursi's 25% is consistent with the Islamist vote in the parliamentary election, allowing for fratricide from other Islamist candidates. The surprise, unofficial vote count for Shafiq, a secularist candidate who obtained just 300,000 votes fewer than Mursi, is difficult to accept at face value without assuming manipulation and voter fraud by the Army. At most, this candidate should have obtained 15% of the vote. These are not believable results.
Who would have guessed that the 60% of the farmers and service workers in Egypt were secularists and pro-Mubarak? Especially because these two groups voted overwhelmingly for Islamist candidates in the parliamentary elections.
The significance of the unofficial outcome is that all the pre-election poll samplings and expert estimates were completely wrong, unless they posited a pro-military outcome. All the poll takers wasted their time and money.
The unofficial presidential results are completely inconsistent with the results of the parliamentary elections just six months ago, but completely consistent with the Mubarak-style of election manipulation. Nothing has changed.
As NightWatch predicted earlier this week, the candidates who qualified for the runoff election would signify whether the election was manipulated. It obviously has been. This election only reaffirmed the enduring importance of the power struggle between the Army and the Islamists. It continues.
The Mubarak and the military machines remain powerful and probably will engineer the outcome of the runoff nest month. If that occurs, it would prove that the Arab spring in Egypt was shallow and impotent.
NightWatch retracts its praise of the election process because the unofficial reports show it has not been an open and free election after all. A strong vote return for former prime minister Shafiq is simply not a credible voter result. His election as president next month would mean nothing has changed and portend much more violent internal instability.
End of NightWatch .
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