This is not the Egyptian people’s parliament
It has become clear that the low turnout has nothing to do with voter fraud. Simply put, Egyptians realised there would be no real elections and did not go out to vote.
In the past, Egyptians were reluctant to participate in elections, local or parliamentary or presidential because they knew that the results would be tainted. They knew that ultimately parliament would be nothing more than the patron of the ruling regime.
This was the general view among an Egyptian electorate that had not experienced free elections in more than 60 years.
As for the most recent parliamentary elections, it seems that Egyptians wanted to demonstrate that this has nothing to do with any ruling party since there are no longer ruling parties in Egyptian politics. The difference is that Egyptians have an instinctive awareness, thanks to five years of political storms, that elections that will result in no change in their daily reality are no elections at all.
So Egypt will now have a parliament that was voted for by no more than 16% of the electorate. How can such a parliament be entrusted with powers to oversee an executive branch headed by a president who swept to power with 96% of the vote?
What is even more strange is that the electoral bloc that secured the most seats wants to further weaken this already weak parliament and transfer much of its power to the presidency.
After Egypt’s revolution, the referendum to amend Egypt’s 1971 constitution drew an unprecedented turnout. The difference is that there was hope for change and a genuine desire to banish the legacy of 30 years of political corruption and stagnation, as well as a belief that this was actually possible.
The same thing happened during the 2012 elections, which simply swapped the disasters of the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) for the disasters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Even so, Egyptians in 2012 believed in the power of change, despite everything that came after. As for the latest round of elections, they have not solved anything and will exacerbate the situation.
Some might believe that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s only concern is to return to a Mubarak-like regime. However, the reality is that Sisi does not want to repeat the mistakes of the past. At the same time, he does not want to see the return — in any way shape or form — of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sisi’s problem — and this is the same problem Mubarak faced — is that he is simply incapable of operating as a civilian ruler; this is something that influences his politics and his economic and security policies. In spite of this, there are major differences between the Mubarak and Sisi eras.
Mubarak possessed an army of bureaucrats and businessmen who were able, despite their corruption, to do what he asked of them, namely administer the country and ensure that he remained in power. This approach was based on ensuring that there was no real development in Egypt, given that it was the status quo that allowed him to cling to power. In the end, Mubarak discovered that this could not last forever.
As for Sisi, his administration has shown no talent for choosing able and efficient officials, despite a genuine desire for development. Sisi is doing everything in his power, by focusing on Egypt’s economy, to bring about a new reality.
Sisi wants to move Egypt away from the hyper-political stage in evidence after the January 25th revolution to an era of no politics at all. Egypt’s state institutions are therefore seeking to expand and overtake everything, even parliament, which is supposed to oversee these very institutions.
Observers can clearly see the old regime is trying to reassert itself inside parliament and exploit the political stagnation to move the country one step back. Therefore, Egyptians who are supposed to be participating in this election — as voters and candidates — are now certain that the next parliament will not be their parliament.
The Egyptian parliament will keep on backing the president while the Egyptian people remain silently on the sidelines and nobody knows when this will change.