The Big Pharaoh
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Sunday, November 27, 2005

MB Countdown: 75 seats

The Muslim Brotherhood increased their share of the parliament to 76 seats after winning 28 seats during yesterday’s re-run elections of stage 2. Today is another shocking day. If you remember I placed a bet that the MB will win between 75 to 80 seats in total. I lost. It seems they are on their way to garner over 100 seats.

I cannot explain this. All what I can say is that there must have been some sort of a deal between the MB and the government. The degree of freedom that the MB enjoyed during these elections was unprecedented.

Was there indeed a deal between the MB and the regime? Or did the government just grant the MB conditional freedom so that their victory will scare those calling for democracy in Egypt, namely the US administration? If there was a deal, what were its conditions? Will the government grant concessions to the MB during the coming 5 years in return of stuff the regime wants from the MB? And how will these concessions affect my personal life? And how will the Bush administration respond to these developments unfolding in a strategic country such as Egypt?

All these questions remain unanswered for the time being.

The final stage of the elections (Stage 3) is next Thursday. The MB are expected to flare well and surpass the 100th seat for the very first time in their complicated history with Egypt’s successive regimes.

The Big Pharaoh in Al Mashareq

This blog was quoted in Al Mashareq, a news portal sponsored by the US Central Command. Their report also mentioned other Egyptian bloggers such Sandmonkey, Freedom for Egyptians, and Rosetta Stones.

Egyptian bloggers comment on ongoing parliamentary elections

Celebrity Egyptian blogger the Big Pharaoh is worried about what he sees as efforts by the government to "appease" the Muslim Brotherhood who is winning a high number of seats in the parliament.

"I will try as much as possible to give you a foretaste of what to expect the coming Egyptian parliament to be like or to the stuff they will discuss," blogged the Big Pharaoh.
Referring to the current political development in Bahrain, he said: "The liberals there [Bahrain] are waging a campaign against their government's appeasement of Islamists that lead to banning music concerts, and gender segregation at universities."

"Now, as a result of the tremendous power of the Muslim Brotherhood we all witnessed in Egypt elections, it is not unlikely that the government will 'bend' and concede some stuff to our beloved Islamists just as the Bahraini king is doing," wrote the Egyptian blogger ."Only God knows what? And only God can save us from that," he concluded."

Iraq Ranks Third Most Politically Free Arab Country!

Index ranks Middle East freedom

"The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked 20 countries on 15 indicators of political and civil liberty.

The Index of Political Freedom lists Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Iraq and the Palestinian Territories as the most democratic parts of the region.

Libya received the lowest rating, below Syria and Saudi Arabia.

As for Iraq, its high score is a bit surprising, given the level of violence there, our correspondent says.

Iraqis no long live under a dictatorship and now have plenty of publications and political parties to choose from. But their freedom of movement is constrained by the bombings and kidnappings, and that is a big limitation.


Israel: 8.20
Lebanon: 6.55
Morocco: 5.20
Iraq: 5.05
Palestine: 5.05
Kuwait: 4.90
Tunisia: 4.60
Jordan: 4.45
Qatar: 4.45
Egypt: 4.30
Sudan: 4.30
Yemen: 4.30
Algeria: 4.15
Oman: 4.00
Bahrain: 3.85
Iran: 3.85
UAE: 3.70
Saudi Arabia: 2.80
Syria: 2.80
Libya: 2.05

While Iraq definitely enjoys considerable political freedom now, I don't think it has civil liberty yet. You can't have civil liberties while Shia militias and radical Sunni groups are intimidating the population and theatening their personal freedoms. However, for Iraq to be ranked third among Arab nations is a very good surprise indeed.


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