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Gamal Mubarak Blames Judges for Low Turnout in the 2005 Presidential Election
Gamal Mubarak Blames Judges for Low Turnout in the 2005 Presidential Election
WikiLeaks has released a new batch of cables today including 11 originating from the US embassy in Cairo, dating back to the Bush administration in 2005.
Friday, December 17,2010 15:20
IkhwanWeb

 WikiLeaks has released a new batch of cables today including 11 originating from the US embassy in Cairo, dating back to the Bush administration in 2005. They have unveiled that conflict and division intensified between two wings within the NDP, known as the “old guard” and the "new guard" during a gala reception hosted by Gamal Mubarak of the ruling NDP ahead of the 2005 parliamentary elections. US ambassador to Egypt at that time, Richard Dunne, said that members of the new guard received loud and prolonged applause whenever they took the podium at the party congress. The reception for old guard figures, by contrast, was muted and polite. Judging from this, Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Maghrabi, said, “I don't think the old guard will be with us much longer.”
 
In a September 28 meeting with Elizabeth Cheney, Gamal Mubarak described Egypt's outdated and incoherent voter lists as "not a huge issue," but noted that cleaning them up would be a long-term project. He blamed the low turnout of the presidential election (about 7 million voters or 23 percent) on overzealous judges supervising the September 7 ballot who had, allegedly, refused to allow more than one voter at a time into polling stations, and thereby diminished turnout. "We were aiming for at least nine million voters, but many people went home without voting because of the queues," Gamal said.
 
Gamal termed the controversy over domestic observers on Election Day as "a huge mess," and noted that the party had tried to play a constructive role on this issue behind the scenes, despite the obstructionism of the Presidential Election Commission and some of the judges.
 
In a September 28 meeting with PDAS, Elizabeth Cheney, Gamal Mubarak, head of the NDP Policies Committee, reviewed his father’s presidential election campaign, which he argued had been a major success. He also reviewed the ruling party’s preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections. PDAS Cheney reminded Gamal of the paramount importance that the USG places on international monitoring and urged him to use his influence to encourage the NDP to undertake other concrete improvements in the electoral process. Significant improvements in the parliamentary elections, the PDAS noted, would be crucial to continuing Egypt’s democratic reform progress.
 
Gamal opened the meeting with questions about Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. PDAS Cheney updated Gamal on cleanup and recovery efforts and thanked him for Egypt’s relief supplies.
 
Turning to the September 7 Presidential Election, Gamal noted that he and his NDP colleagues had been working on the campaign since the end of June, when President Mubarak had indicated that "he wanted a proper campaign team." Gamal said the team, which included Ahmad Ezz and Mohammad Kamal, used focus groups and polling to fine tune the President's message.
 
Gamal attributed the NDP’s success to a packed schedule of campaign events (nearly one major event per day) Gamal also noted that his father had greatly enjoyed the “intensity” of the campaign as well as his engagement with party activists. Gamal said that the final event of the campaign, the closing rally at Abdeen Palace in Cairo, had been a “huge success,” since it linked the President to key episodes in Egyptian historical memory.
 
Turning to the parliamentary elections, which will be held in three stages beginning November 8, Gamal said that a central difference with the presidential campaign would be that campaigning for the 444 parliamentary races
“would be the party’s effort, not the President’s. The PDAS asked how the party plans to select its candidates and Gamal noted that the party’s selection process had not worked in the past, since it permitted candidates with deep pockets to win the party endorsement even if they were not able to win at the polls. (Note: In the 2000 elections, official NDP candidates won less than 40 percent of the seats. Most winners were so-called “NDP independents” who had not managed to secure the party’s endorsement but nevertheless prevailed at the polls and eventually rejoined the party, thereby giving the NDP its lock on Parliament.)
 
Gamal provided an overview of the new process, saying that the party would hold “primaries” during the first week of October, which would assemble precinct bosses and other grass roots leaders to bet potential candidates. Gamal said that in addition to this popularity contest, the party would use polling, analysis of voting in the presidential election, and a “software” analysis to create a single consolidated party slate of candidates
 
Gamal said that the parliamentary elections would be “both messier and easier” than the presidential election. In response to the PDAS’s inquiry about the GOE utilizing transparent ballot boxes in place of the existing wooden boxes, Gamal described them as “cosmetic.” For Egypt, he said, the key is judicial supervision. Gamal also dismissed alleged problems with indelible ink, multiple voting, and voting by unregistered citizens. All of these allegations, he said, were “unfounded.” More important, he argued had been the information deficit. Voters had sometimes not known which polling stations to report to, and the lists of registered voters had not been widely available ahead of time. Improving the available information about the polling station locations and access was Gamal’s highest priority. “If I were in charge,” he said, “this is what I would do".
 
Gamal said that Egypt’s unregistered voters were excited about politics and were enthusiastic to register to vote in future elections, when the registration period opened in late 2005. The PDAS asked if any opposition party would get the five percent of the parliamentary seats needed to field a future presidential candidate. Gamal shrugged and replied that this would depend on the opposition
parties’ organization and discipline. Might the GOE revise Article 76 again, the PDAS asked, if an opposition party failed to get the required five percent? Gamal replied that talk of additional modification of Article 76 was premature:
“the ink is not yet dry,” he said.
 
The PDAS sought Gamal’s views on rumors that the President plans to appoint a vice president, adding some people, argue that the President should name a Vice President, while others say that the new amendment to the Constitution
makes a vice president unnecessary
 
At Gamal’s invitation, the PDAS and DAS later attended the gala reception on September 29, hosted by the NDP for the diplomatic corps on the occasion of the party’s annual conference. Members of the diplomatic corps, including the Iranian Ambassador, gathered around Gamal vying for his attention and the opportunity to shake his hand. Old-guard party figures, Kamal al-Shazli and Safwat Sherif, stood together off to the side while Gamal was clearly the center of the show

 

tags: WikiLeaks / Gamal Mubarak / Mubarak / Presidential Election / Election / Parliamentary Elections / Congress / Egyptian Parliament / Candidates / Opposition Parties / Bush Administration / 2005 Elections / Polling Stations / Election Day / Ahmad Ezz / Ballot Boxes / Voters / Egyptian Constitution / Kamal al-Shazli / Safwat Sherif
Posted in Democracy , 2010 election update , Wikileaks  
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