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Middle EastArticles

Criteria of Majority Rule in Egypt, Arab World and US

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Citizens in Egypt and other Arab countries have been fascinated by the recent  US presidential election 2020 and the rivalry between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, especially that the “former” US President Trump and his campaign were acting as an “opposition” force whose powers have been removed; and how judges belonging to the Republican Party, whom Trump had appointed in US supreme courts, sided with the law and let him down when he asked them to block voting in some states, against the norms in the Arab world.

Meanwhile, unlike the popular fascination by the American elections, there was a feeling of disappointment in Egypt with respect to what happened in the so-called parliamentary “elections”, where results usually come according to what the intelligence services that support the ruling regime in Egypt want!

In fact, under the rule of the military, whether in Egypt or elsewhere, the practice of elections in such distorted way, while falsely calling this act ‘appeal to the opinion of the majority’, has greatly offended the pure idea of elections, and turned it into an absurd phenomenon, and accordingly the whole process has become an expression of the rule of the (military) minority, not the real majority.

Rule of the Majority: For and Against

In the West, the resort to majority rule came after centuries of bitter experiences of tyranny and conflict that had led to spread of fear, hunger, ignorance and backwardness. Under the pressure of these circumstances, Western societies found themselves compelled to abandon their selfishness and narrow individual interests, and decided to appeal to the opinion of the majority and agreed on the rule of the majority.

Among several criticisms directed to the democratic system of government is that it leads to dictatorship of the majority and deprives the minority, regardless of their number, from manifesting their views, and ultimately forces the minority to submission to the opinion of the majority, no matter how wrong it may be.

Among other criticisms to the opinion of the majority, some see that unanimity on one opinion does not at all mean it is the right thing, as the opinion of the majority may be based on misleading information to deceive the masses and influence their positions through media propaganda amid their lack of awareness and knowledge.

Rule of Minority in Arab World

In fact, there is no rule of majority in most Arab countries, as they are either governed by monarchical systems of government, some of which still do not have a constitutional reference, albeit formal; or governed by military, sectarian or tribal regimes that are only keen to formally go in line with the global system and portray their ruling regimes as expressive of the rule of the majority, of course against the truth.

Unfortunately, this false formula of elections is satisfactory and acceptable to Western countries, as it achieves their interests on the one hand, and provides a democratic picture, albeit formal, on the other, although they certainly realize that the outcome of such rigged elections does not at all represent the will of the majority of people.

However, the West has unfortunately in most cases backed creation of such form of corrupt governments. Even, it has worked to replace the elected government that was expressive of the opinion of the majority in Egypt with a military government that falsifies facts and portrays the rule of the tyrannical military minority as the rule of the majority through rigged elections that do not express the real opinion of the masses. In this regard, we must not forget the European media and political support, whether declared or unannounced, that has been provided to the military coup in 2013. An evidence of this Western hypocrisy is the attitude of EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, when she urged the anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square in 2012 to maintain their demonstrations in order to overthrow the regime (the democratically elected government for the first time in Egypt).

With a closer look at most regimes in Arab countries, we can easily find out that the results of rigged elections under the slogans of rule of the majority are, in fact, a clear embodiment of the rule of the minority that is keen to exclude the true majority from power with the blessing of Western countries.

The Egyptian Model

At the time when the US presidential election was ongoing in the United States, parliamentary “elections” were held in Egypt. Of course, a comparison can never be made between the two events, but hereunder we will try to discuss the most important obstacles to the rule of the majority in Egypt:

1- Fake Parties:

Of course, the reader would be surprised to knnw that there are 104 political parties in Egypt that all lack any clear ideology, party platform, or serious political goals supported by masses. Almost all leaders of these sham parties suffer from political and cognitive ignorance, but have the support of the ruling regime and its leaders! These parties do not have real supporters, as most of them do not have more than the 5,000 members required to foundation of the party. Often, the presence of the party is expressed by a miserable headquarters in a flat here or there. Also, the concept of launching a party to many founders of the current political parties in Egypt is not much different from opening a grocery store. This is why people are reluctant to join these parties or participate in any elections.

On the other hand, parties that have clear ideologies, from the far right to the far left, are prevented from carrying out any activities under “criminal” or “constitutional” allegations, despite their popularity. Therefore, such parties are either banned or detonated from within by security services.

2- Poor Political Awareness:

Since the 1952 coup, the ruling military regime has worked hard to dismiss and avoid people’s awareness, and delude them through the media outlets that it monopolizes, directly or indirectly, that opposition groups in general aim at outbidding, profitmaking and blackmailing, which prompted people to abstain from engagement in political action.

Over the last ten years, the regime has added to the opposition charges of treason and terrorism, in response to the cultural boom that Egyptian people gained from the serious practices of political activity by the parties that arose after the January Revolution before their subsequent elimination. This has made both the Egyptian people and leaders of the existing sham parties afraid to speak out against the regime.

Therefore, the program of a candidate for parliament membership has become only a list of services that he/she intends to pursue implementation with various government bodies, such as building a bridge, school, hospital, etc.; even though such activities must be included in the routine work of local administrations, whether appointed or elected. However, a member of parliament usually cannot fulfill even such promises to his electorate, so he/she ultimately resorts to achievement of personal benefit from the parliament’s membership by mediating to appoint a number of his relatives in key authority departments such as the police, the army, the judiciary and the diplomatic corps.

Of course, these members of parliament are not concerned with the regime’s general policies; therefore, they approve any bills submitted by authorities to Parliament without regard for their consequences and dangers.

Key features of the lack of enforcement of the rule of the majority in Egypt in light of the recent election process:

1- The “carrot and the stick” approach: where the government intimidates citizens by threatening to impose fines for not participating in elections and chasing them by security organs, while at the same time encouraging citizens to participate in elections by distributing money and cartons of food commodities among them by candidates and parties. Nevertheless, the officially declared turnout did not exceed 28% in the first phase of the House of Representatives elections, where more than a third of voters nullified their votes.

2- Poor competition: Although all the existing parties in Egypt are not considered opposition parties, but rather vary in terms of proximity or distance from the ruling authority, partisan competition took place between the list of the regime’s main party and a list submitted by parties closer to it. However, some parties that are a little farther from the government participated in elections in the hope of releasing some of their detainees, a move that the regime welcomed with the aim of venting a small part of the mounting popular anger against the government.

3- Shallow awareness of candidates: The election propaganda conferences organized by some candidates and political parties in almost all electoral districts showed their shallow thought and culture, which exposed them to ridicule, as candidates for representing the will of the people.

In fact, the recent US presidential election is expressive of the rule of the majority, but what has taken place in Egypt is something else – although it may sound like “elections” but its outcome only manifests the rule of the military minority.

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