Friday, December 09, 2005

"Democracy" in Egypt

Life is tough for authoritarian governments. They have to at least pretend to have elections, in order to claim legitimacy in the eyes of the world. But any poll which even approaches international standards runs the risk of the "wrong" people winning. In Central Asia and parts of the former Soviet Union, they solve this "authoritarian's dilemma" by media control, ballot-box stuffing, and outright fraud. In Egypt, which has been having legislative elections for the past month, they use more direct methods: sending police to shut down polling booths in areas where people might not vote for the ruling party. And when that doesn't work, they beat, gas, and shoot people:

Egyptian police have shot dead six people during protests by Islamists barred from voting during the final stage of the parliamentary election.

Live rounds were fired along with tear gas and rubber bullets as police struggled to keep Muslim Brotherhood supporters reaching polling stations.

Hundreds of people have been injured, both by police and armed government supporters. Despite this, the Muslim Brotherhood, whose candidates run as independents due to the ban, has won nearly 20% of the seats, and is likely to win more.


In advanced capitalist democracies they do it by owning much of the media and paying the wages of editors, they do it by funding political parties and pulling that funding when a party gets out of line, and they do it by pulling their money out of the country if the people choose a government in the interests of the people. In some advanced democracies they even own the voting machines.

Same shit, just takes a little more resources.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/09/2005 07:34:00 AM