“Come vote with us!” invited my acquaintance on our street, one of the few real working-class (actually, unemployed-class) liberals I’ve met, after we bonded over his otherwise unshared suspicions of the Brotherhood. I’m excited to be in Abu Dhabi for what promises to be a very fun conference on World Literature and Translation, but sorry to be missing the fun on Voting Day in our neighborhood. Here are some posters from Dokki/Mohandiseen.
The one of Gamal Abdel Nasser is from the back window of someone’s car on our street; he’s not really running for office, just (as the caption says) “still in the hearts of millions.” The others are candidates. Not a lot of women running, but how do you like that lady whose symbol is the rifle? Or the Brothers represented by two objects they’ve perhaps never used, a stove and a blender? At least you can’t accuse the election committee of sexism. There’s a public service poster advising people on how to vote; most of these have been scratched up or pasted over with posters for particular candidates. Note the statue of Ahmad Orabi in the background of the Midan Orabi photo: he still has an eye patch commemorating the Nov 19-26 violence where several protesters got their eyes shot out. Oh, and one Egyptian Bloc candidate hung his banners over some street signs on major public roads, such that you can’t see the street signs anymore to know where you’re going. Trust him to prioritize the national interest over his own and steer the parliament in the right direction. Somehow don’t have photos yet, but the MB splinter party Hizb al-Wasat, now usually described as “moderate Islamist,” has recently sprouted a very strong presence in our neighborhood, with offices right near the Bahoos metro station and posters all over the place featuring their #1 guy on the list-based vote, a good-looking former Zamalek soccer star.
Turnout promises to be high. Apparently some number of people have had the daylights scared out of them by the MB/Nour sweep in the first round, and are voting Egyptian Bloc “to balance things out.” Certainly that’s the Bloc’s last best strategy: they’ve taken down their billboards with photos of tycoon/party founder Naguib Sawiris (a liability in general, and more so after he made a massive televised gaffe last week), and replaced them with huge posters simply showing the Bloc’s symbol (the eye) and the words, “For a Balanced Parliament.” (Pix of those on my other camera too.)
This was my earlier question about multi-round elections, which my friend Qifa Nabki described in his comment as “not ideal” — and in many cases of course they aren’t. But because late-round voters get to see how the early rounds voted, could this system allow for an early and healthy expression of buyer’s remorse?