Wednesday, September 07, 2005

BBC gives me a bad morning

My favourite newsoutlet the classic, legendery, stiff upper lip, no nonse kind of news surprised me yesterday morning. BBC world´s covering of the Egyptian elections started with the sentence "For the first time in 7000 years Egyptians can choose from among several candidates. " In the evening CNN´s Ben Wiederman claimed the same thing. Nobody seemed to have heard about Egypt prior to 1952, while it´s true that is the first presidential elections with several candidates, indeed this is the first presidential election. When Egypt became a republic on 18 June 1953, by decree of the Revolutionay Commamd Council . General Muhammed Naguib was appointed president by the same body. When ousted from power, the precidency was vacant until the new constitution came in place in Janyary1956, stipulating a popular referendum where the people endorse the only candidate. Gamal abd al Nasser was proclaimed the second president of the republic on 23 of June 1956. This has been the process ever since, until the referendum onthe 25th of May this year when article 76 was changed. The multicandidate elections is the first since elections to the upper house in 1952 and the lower house in 1949. After the 1919 revolution and independence from the British in 1923. In what was a somewhat flawed atempt at parliamentarism. Egypt held regular elections from 1924 until 1952. The struggle between the three important political forces, The Wafd, The monarch and the british hampered the parliamentary system. Several elections where rigged, the king played a very negative role especially during the primeministership of Ismail Sidqi 1930-33. The king had the right to appoint and dissmiss the government , and missused his power in that regard on several occasions. The Wafd during the 17 years from 1919-1936 was the popular choice of the people, and the only way of stopping them from claiming electoral victory was by rigging the elections or changing the election rules, Anyone familiar with Egyptian history, would never claim that Saád Zaghloul was not elected by the people.

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