A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sisi Wins Over 90% of Overseas Vote as Campaign Nears End

Field Marshal Sisi reportedly won 90% or more of the vote among Egyptians abroad, according to preliminary numbers cited by Ahram Online. Some places supposedly reached 97% or more (97.6% in Los Angeles, 96.1% in New York, but squeaking by with a mere 92.8% here in DC. Asia is less enthusiastic: a mere 75.8% in Beijing (spelled Peking in the link) and 76.9% in Manila.

Not quite the 99% claims of the Nasser era, but of course here are two candidates today, and somebody had to vote for Hamdeen Sabbahi. Sill, slightly less inflated figures might inspire more confidence in the results. UPDATE: I must start having my 8th grade daughter vet the math. Ahram Online  says the New York results were "New York, USA: El-Sisi 96.1% (8987), Sabahi 8.9% (362)." 96.1%+8.9% = 105%.  Saddam Hussein once claimed 100% and Nasser may have had at least one 99%, but even they never got 105% turnouts.

Nor did this help inspire trust: the website Rasd (admittedly sympathetic to if not run by the Muslim Brotherhood), discovered that Al-Masry al-Yawm (a privately-owned daily but very pro-Sisi) reusing a photo from the 2012 elections showing Egyptians lining up to vote (note the boxed dates):
Not that the numbers matter, since everyone assumes Sisi will win. Give Hamdeen Sabbahi credit: while Sisi's campaign has mostly consisted of TV interviews and press conferences (and a lack of details about his platform), Sabbahi has actually been campaigning around the country. But even he seems resigned to the inevitable.

One person who isn't, or at least seems trying to convince himself, is Omar Kamel in this blogpost: "Sabbahi, the Next President of Egypt?"  His conspiracy theory is essentially that the Army wanted to discredit the Muslim Brotherhood and let Morsi serve for a year, screw things up, and destroy the Brotherhood's credibility. He claims the Army might let Sabbahi win in order to discredit the Nasserist/Leftist opposition as they did the Brotherhood. Huh?

The first proposition, that the Army wanted Morsi to fail, is quite likely true. But the Brotherhood was nationwide and had  national support network that could challenge the state apparatus; it carried Upper Egypt easily. The Nasserist/Leftist opposition is mostly limited to faculty clubs, sections of the Bar Association, and the salons of Zamalek. If the Egyptian Army is scared of those guys,  I hope no one invades Egypt. It's a diverting theory, but keep your money on Sisi.

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