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General Egyptian Electoral Information… معلومات عامة عن الانختابات المصرية

The first round of Egyptian parliamentary elections is less than two weeks. Campaign posters are covering street lights, underpasses and some parties have even rented out billboards. Leaflets are being handed out on the metro and the Salafists have discovered how to use modern technology to disseminate a political message. With nearly fifty different political parties bearing similar names – thirty-six of which have been formed in the past eight months – there is considerable confusion about their idealogical stances. Moreover in the internal party-competition around the ordering of party lists, prominent activists and politicians have continued to switch parties or start new ones to ensure their placement at the top of the list. To clear up these increasingly turbid waters, some enterprising souls have graphed the parties on a left-right and religious-secular political axes. Others have formed websites that after testing your stance on the key political issues match you with the political party of “your dreams”. (The tests are available here and here) (For more on these issues read an excellent article by Nate Wright.) Keep Reading

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Egypt News July 14, 2011 أخبار مصر ١٤ يوليو ٢٠١١

As compared to the earlier of the week, events in Egypt have slowed down providing time for reflection and analysis.
1. As symbolic confessions and limited reform have failed to mollify the protestsers, the Arabist discusses the end game for the current protests. I agree with his conclusion: Tomorrow really, really matters. Without the Muslim Brotherhood participating, how many people will this collection of liberal parties be able to gather in Tahrir Square this Friday? Also, how long can the myriad of groups gathered in Tahrir Square maintain the unity necessary to achieve additional reform?
2. In the above vein, more than 200,000 signatures have been gathered (arabic) in support of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The protestors have started a signature campaign calling for the removal of SCAF, but its numbers remain low. I cannot stress enough that those gathered in Tahrir Square are in the minority. They face opposition from not alone SCAF and the Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, etc) but also from many political unaligned Egyptians who have grown frustrated with the determintal effect of the revolution on the Egyptian economy.
3. In the Interior Ministry, details are emerging about the specifics of the reform. The purge includes 669 highly-ranked officers among them 505 generals and 82 colonels. Protestors remained unsatisfied, however, feeling that this will not set a sufficient deterrent against police brutality – especially among those on the bottom end of the totem poll.
4. Although the political results of the revolution remain uncertain, the revolution has broken the state’s near monopoly on broadcast media generating an explosion in independent media broadcasting networks.

Egypt News July 12, 2011…أخبار مصر ١٢ يوليو ٢٠١١

1. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) released its first statement since the beginning of the sit-in this morning. After the statement angered rather than mollified the protests, SCAF held a press conference this afternoon. The conference was taped rather than recorded live but Al-Jazeera English’s Middle East correspondent tweeted the event. Neither mollified the protestors who marched to the Cabinet to present their demands. They are now calling for the resignation of Essam El-Sharaf. However, their proposed replacement Mohammad El-Baradei has declined their overtures.
2. Deputy Prime Minister Yehia El-Gamal resigns.
2. Thugs attacked the Tahrir Square sit-in this morning wounding eight.
3. After much deliberation, those in Tahrir Square have decided to reopen the Mugama` (the large government bureaucratic building). Maybe this means I will finally get my student visa?
4. Another day, another bombing of the Egypt-Israel natural gas pipeline. This marks the fourth time since the January 25 Revolution that the pipeline has been sabotaged. The pipeline was just reopened on July 11, 2011 after the July 5, 2011 bombing. Aspects of Egypt’s foreign policy with Israel appear to be changing despite the efforts of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
5. Islamic groups ranging from Salafists to the Muslim Brotherhood (arabic) to the Gamayia al-Islamiyya (arabic) – have all released statements supporting SCAF and the government of Essam El-Sharaf and condemning chaos caused by sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience. This serves as a pleasant reminder that those dominating the headlines are a minority representing a specific political slice of Egyptian society that is in constant conflict with SCAF and other political players over the allegiance of the silent and nonaligned Egyptian majority.