[Debate] Presidential Elections: Egypt’s Left Behind
critical.montages at gmail.com
Fri May 25 14:21:41 BST 2012
I agree, but, for now:
shereen A. El Naga
+100 "@moftasa: Greater Cairo please supercharge Hamdeen to the second
Greater Cairo please supercharge Hamdeen to the second place. Please.
Greater Cairo please supercharge Hamdeen to the second place. Please.
1.42pm: The revolution is over, according to a Shafiq spokesman quoted
by the New York Times:
Ahmad Sarhan, a spokesman for Mr Shafiq, said voters had rallied to
the candidate because he promised to "save Egypt from the dark
forces," referring to the Brotherhood and more militant Islamists.
Mr Shafiq would bring back security, Mr Sarhan said. "The revolution
has ended," he said. "It is one and a half years."
1.15pm: Shafiq is back into second place according to the latest count
Its latest tally includes counts from 18 of the 27 governorates.
Sabahy was in second after counts from 15 governorates.
Morsi 3,451,433 (25.59%)
Shafiq 3,378,998 (25.05%)
Sabbahi 2,862,143 (21.22%)
Abul Fotouh 2,362,956 (17.52%)
Moussa 1,431,239 (10.61%)
Its figures do not include the urban centres of Cairo and Giza.
1.11pm: Hamdeen Sabahy jumped into second place after Ahram's election
tally added results from the port city of Alexandria where he enjoys
big support, explains Jack Shenker in audio update from Cairo.
There is a lot of confusion. We are not yet sure whether Cairo and
Giza votes have yet been included in the tallies we are seeing on our
We are getting a mixed picture [from candidate's monitors]. Nobody
knows exactly what's happening, but it does seem that whereas a few
hours ago the so called 'nightmare scenario' of Shafiq and Morsi going
through to the final runoff, it now looks as if Hamdeen Sabahy, the
leftist, might just be pipping Shafiq to that second place spot. But
we still have to be very cautious ...
All of our predictions have been thrown out the window because areas
which we thought would poll well for the Islamist have gone secular,
and areas which we thought would be revolutionary, like Suez, have
polled quite highly for establishment figures and vice versa all over
the country, so it is a very mixed picture.
On Thu, May 24, 2012 at 11:03 AM, peter waterman
<peterwaterman1936 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Is this not somewhat platitudinous, bearing in mind that the piece shows to
> what extent the 'left' is profoundly divided?
> I would have thought that the need, rather, was to forget, at least for the
> foreseeable future, parliamentary elections, to 'return to the bases', and
> build/support such bases. Just like the left in the USA? Or Russia? And as
> is being attempted in South Africa.
> Given the fractious nature of the left in Egyt (which goes back to the six
> (?) Communist Parties after 1945), perhaps one also needs to consider the
> social roots of such? And develop a notion of 'left' which surpasses such.
> On Thu, May 24, 2012 at 4:34 PM, Yoshie Furuhashi
> <critical.montages at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Here too what leftists need is a positive project most of them can
>> unite for, not agreement only on what they are against.
>> Presidential Elections: Egypt’s Left Behind
>> By: Bisan Kassab, Muhammad al-Arabi
>> Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012
>> As Day 1 of voting closes, the strife among the candidates of the Left
>> in the Egyptian presidential elections demonstrates the inability of
>> this political current to unite in order to grasp this revolutionary
>> After 25 January 2011, the Left in Egypt changed. Gone is the
>> stereotypical image being promoted in the media of leftists in Egypt:
>> countless groups revelling in bars, discussing outdated theories, and
>> accusing each other of treason.
>> The revolution managed to bring the Left back to life, but this was
>> ultimately not enough to propel the revolution forward. The Egyptian
>> Left, in its various forms and currents, failed to grasp the
>> revolutionary moment.
>> The issues of “bread” and “dignity” were crystal clear in the Left’s
>> rhetoric. These were indivisible from freedom, democracy, and
>> politics. Actually, they were considered a precondition to such issues
>> being addressed, according to many leftists.
>> In order to win a wider audience, all they had to do was to put their
>> weight behind social and economic demands.
>> But the organizations of the Left, whether the parties or social
>> formations, failed to demonstrate their ability to achieve the goals
>> of those segments of society that joined the revolution in the hope of
>> improving their economic and social conditions.
>> The presidential elections further added to the disunity of leftist
>> Kamal Khalil is a historical icon of the Marxist Left and a leader of
>> the Workers and Peasants Party (still under formation). He says that
>> the “deep crisis in the Left became evident in the break up of its
>> votes between four presidential candidates. They are Hamdeen Sabahi,
>> Khaled Ali, Abul Ezz al-Hariri, and Hisham al-Bastawisi.”
>> The Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) decided a few months ago
>> to nominate Hariri, a party leader and MP, for the presidential race.
>> This came after failed negotiations to support the leftist lawyer,
>> Khaled Ali.
>> Socialist Renewal, a group that split from the Revolutionary
>> Socialists before the revolution, decided to unilaterally support the
>> Islamist candidate Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh.
>> This decision was based on an economic program written by leftist
>> activists who saw that the candidacy of Abul-Fotouh, a reformist with
>> a conservative background, could avoid polarization between so-called
>> “civic groups” and the Islamists.
>> SPAP was formed after the revolution by former leading members of the
>> National Progressive Unionist Party (Tagammu) which also used to be
>> the party of Abul Ezz al-Hariri.
>> Tagammu had severely deteriorated following years of supporting
>> deposed president Hosni Mubarak. Its former president, Rifaat al-Said,
>> used to justify this alliance by the need to challenge the rise of the
>> Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood.
>> Tagammu are backing Bastawisi, noted for his role in the battle with
>> the Mubarak regime over the independence of the judiciary in the
>> Khaled Ali, formerly of the Revolutionary Socialists, is supported by
>> a significant number of independent leftist activists and the
>> Democratic Left, who joined the Egyptian Social Democratic Party,
>> which wavers between right of center and left of center.
>> The Revolutionary Socialists took a completely different position on
>> the elections. They chose to abstain in protest of the failure of
>> candidates close to the revolution to unite, following the collapse of
>> efforts by some public figures to avoid dividing the leftist vote.
>> They joined a broad campaign spanning all Egypt called Imsik Fuloul
>> (Catch the Remnants). It was formed by activists from all persuasions
>> to chase after Ahmed Shafik and Amr Moussa, two of the candidates with
>> connections to the former regime.
>> They did not call for a boycott like Kamal Khalil, who was joined by
>> other independent activists. Khalil justifies the boycott because he
>> “[refuses] any elections under military rule.”
>> “There is no fault in the candidates themselves, but it is the nature
>> of military rule. It transformed the first post-revolution Prime
>> Minister Essam Sharaf, who was close to the revolution at first, into
>> a person without authority,” Khalil explains.
>> “The same thing happened with the parliament and even Kamal Ganzouri
>> (the current PM) who was supposed to have the authority of the
>> president of the republic.”
>> But the most dangerous part in the fragmentation of the Left – which
>> unites only in fear of the return of the old regime – is that their
>> candidates can only draw votes from each other.
>> Many leftist candidates found this out when they could not draw even a
>> minimal presence of support in the street or cohere to the demands of
>> the people after the revolution.
>> While the Egyptian Left faces a similar fragmentation to that of the
>> Islamist and liberal fronts, the Left’s electorate is far more
>> Tackling the presidential elections will be of no use if those
>> currents do not achieve a minimum level of unity or at least work on
>> the ground to build popular bases that can ensure their stability and
>> This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
>> Yoshie Furuhashi
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