Since at least as of Tantawi's speech yesterday the elections are still officially on, I thought I'd offer a guide to interpreting the votes. Please read this and then explain it to me, will you?
Democracy is hard, but it doesn't have to be this hard. This graphic, posted by The Daily News Egypt, tries to explain how it works:
|Click image to go to full-size PDF of chart|
Okay, I'm glad we cleared that up. Still confused? Get used to it. Even the constituency boundaries for the two types of elections aren't congruent, so each ballot is somewhat unpredictable. Confuse and rule? Maybe. There are two separate systems: a party list system and an individual candidate system. Parties will dominate. The geographic frames also differ. I can see how some people may be puzzled about who represents them. It's a Rube Goldberg system. The American Electoral College is easier to figure out. (Why are they doing it this way? To deliberately obfuscate and confuse, or through general incompetence? I'm wavering but don't rule out the possibility of both together.)
Some useful readings, since I can't figure it out:
- Carnegie's Guide to the Egyptian elections has a section on the Legal Framework. (This sounds like Nathan Brown's work but most isn't bylined.) It's helpful.
- Jadaliyya offers "The Concise Idiot's Guide to the Egyptian Elections." A good start.
- The Arabist published a map designed by a reader showing relationships among the political parties. PDF of the most up to date version here.