First Results in for Egypt’s Parliamentary Elections

Although the final results of Egypt’s first democratic election in decades have yet to be released, early reports indicate Egypt’s Islamist blocs to have taking the top position. According to the Bloomberg Business week, Egypt’s two main Islamist parties may have claimed up to 70 percent of the vote. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party appear to have won 40 percent in the first round of elections and, more surprisingly, is that the ultra conservative Salafi Al-Nour Party said it may have received 30 percent of the vote. Coming in third place is the secular Egyptian Bloc, which said it may have won as much as 20 percent of the vote.  Second round run-offs for closely contested seats will begin early next week, followed by further parliamentary elections in Egypt’s providences that have yet to cast their ballots.   Other sources indicate these percentages to be slightly high, yet, all sources point to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi Parties as being in the top positions.

full article available here.

Current Affairs: Calm Prevails in Egypt’s Elections

New York Times: In a surprise, Calm Prevails in Egypt’s Elections

By David D. Kirkpatrick

November 28, 2011

Full article here.

Even with the ruling military tightly holding on to power,  and after a mass of protests in Cairo last week,  a unexpectedly large number of Egyptian people made it out yesterday to vote in the first parliamentary elections since the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak.  It appears that citizens in the post-revoultion atmosphere feel that it is their duty to continue to make their voices heard.  The hope, however,  that the elections will be legitimate and without corruption is still dismal. One protester said, “It is like a play, it is like a sham. we are pretending to be voting.” Protest leaders have urged those in the street to go to the polls to express their grievances. The military government sees the turnout as a success and an indication of citizens’ approval of their transition timeline. The real impact of these elections unfortunately won’t been seen for several months.

 

2005 – Egypt’s poor untouched by economic boom

Source: Aljazeera.com

9/1/2005

“Egypt’s economy is growing at its fastest pace in years, exports are surging and the bourse is booming, but there is little sign yet of an economic revival in the poor suburbs and crowded slums of the capital”

This article from Al Jazeera English describes a pre-uprising atmosphere in Egypt where the country’s poor saw little befit from the country’s growing economy.  At the turn of the century, the Mubarak administration, in accordance with its structural adjustment package, privatized much of the country’s state run businesses. This led to massive lay off of Egyptian workers.  Official unemployments estimates at the time were around 10 percent, however, unofficial estimates, which include jobs outside of recognized labor, placed the unemployment rate at levels up to twice that number.  With roughly 20 percent of the population unemployed, the government cutting its public sector, and reducing its provided social services to reduce its deficit, its no wonder that people took to the streets in rage.

Full article available here.

How neoliberalism created an age of activism

“Decades of neoliberal economic policies have concentrated wealth and are now spurring a global backlash.”

Full article available here.

This article by Juan Cole provides a exemplary illustration of the argument currently being developed by this blog. Cole describes how in countries all over the world, like Egypt and the United States, young rebels are reacting to a single stunning worldwide development: the extreme concentration of wealth in a few hands thanks to neoliberal policies of deregulation and union busting.  This is in a sense the exact argument I have been researching.  The connecting tie among social movements around the world is that of inequality. The polices of neoliberalism enacted after capitalism’s structural crisis of the 1970s have concentrated wealth in the hands of less and less.  The uprising in Egypt was not only an attack on an unruly dictator but also attack on the policies that that dictator allowed to occur. It was an uprising against repression, including repression of labor power.  It was a revolt against corruption, including the ties between the ruling elite and economic elite. Neoliberal reforms were at the heart of the complaints of the Egyptian revolution, as they are with social movements around the world.

EGYPT: Water challenges forcing a rethink on usage

Article available at IRIN/Middle East

SHARQIA, 18 October 2011 (IRIN) – Leaking water pipes, evaporation and a rapidly growing population may be significant concerns for those trying to manage and plan water supplies in Egypt, but compounding such problems – and forcing Egyptians to rethink how they use water – is the threat posed by downstream countries which also want to take more water from the Nile, say observers.

“Egyptians have to adapt to less water every day,” said Rida Al Damak, a water expert from Cairo University. Continue reading

Egypt’s reform leader criticizes ruling council

Article available here

By SARAH EL DEEB

Associated Press

Egypt‘s top reform leader said Sunday that the ruling military council has too much power but no experience governing, expressing the growing frustration of many a week after more than 20 Christians were killed when the military broke up their protest in Cairo with force.

Mohamed ElBaradei also criticized Egyptian state TV‘s role in the deadly clashes last Continue reading

“Egyptian rulers reject minister’s resignation”

(CNN)Egypt‘s military rulers have rejected the resignation of Hazen Beblawi, a top official who served as both the deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Finance Ministry spokesman Ibtisam Saad said Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, refused to accept the resignation Tuesday. Continue reading