Oil and sugar
Democracy is being bogged down, writes Abdel-Moneim Said
Between the legislative elections of last fall and the presidential elections of this summer, little has changed. We had hoped to be cruising down democracy lane by now, but progress has been as slow as it was painful.
In a few days, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will retire from politics and we will have a new president in office, our first legitimately elected president. This has been our dream for years, the dream of all reformers in this country, to see the country's future decided at the ballot box, to place our faith in free and fair elections.
This was the way the revolution has opened up. No one wanted the revolution to do otherwise. Definitely, no one wanted the revolution to take us back into totalitarianism, nor did anyone hope for extraordinary laws or crave the end of due legal process..
Our elections were beyond question, and yet people are questioning them now. We've had judges in every polling station and the counting took place in situ, and in the presence of representatives of the candidates. If this is not enough, what is?
Voters were asked to vote near their place of residence, so as to reduce any chance of foul play. This led to low turnout perhaps, but no one says that the elections were unfair as a result.
Still, some people think that the elections were all about choosing between the revolution and the old regime, rather than deciding the future of this country.
The elections have been described as a fraud. This opinion is now being voiced not only by the losers but by those who don't want to see the ballot box reign supreme in this country.
Money is a factor in elections; there is no denying that. But it is not the only factor. Yes some candidates tried to buy votes or play dirty tricks to sway public opinion. Pressure groups did their best, so did the handouts of sugar and oil. This happened before. It happened in places such as America and Britain, but it is no reason for despair.
Democracy is not something that springs into being overnight. It is something we have to fight for every day.