Fears of chaos ahead of Egypt parliamentary polls

Egypt will vote for a new parliament starting on November 28.

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2011, 21:03 PM IST

Cairo: The landmark parliamentary election
planned next month to choose Egypt`s civilian rulers following
the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak may be in jeopardy as
police officers and judges threatened to boycott the polls.

Hundreds of police officers have been staging a sit-in
protest in front of the Ministry of the Interior to demand
better living condition and cleansing it of the remnants of
the former regime.

The police officer have also threatened not to provide
security during the elections if the Ministry fails to meet
their demands.

The ministry`s reply has been swift, threatening officers
with criminal charges if they go ahead with their plans to
disrupt the election for a new parliament starting on November
28.

Lawyers and judges have also locked horns. The crisis
erupted when the judges attempted to issue a new judicial
directive that includes enabling the judge to place lawyers in
prison while in session.

It has angered the lawyers who organized demonstrations
throughout the last week.

"This (the closure of courts and attacks on judges) did
not happen even in the smallest countries of the world. We
will not return to work unless the government shoulders its
responsibility and protects the courts and the judges," said
Ahmad al-Zend, the head of the Judges Club, a highly-respected
unofficial body which acts as a sort of union.

In effect, both judges and police officers have been
threatening to boycott the upcoming elections, stripping it of
judicial supervision and security.

Egypt will vote for a new parliament starting on November
28, but parties and activists who spearheaded the anti-Mubarak
revolt fear his supporters will enter parliament, either as
independents or members of newly formed parties.

Thousand of agitated Egyptians yesterday assembled in
Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the country`s uprising that
ousted Mubarak in February, and called on the ruling military
to promptly transfer power to a civilian government and
exclude old regime figures from politics.

Emad Gad, an expert at the Al-ahram Centre for Strategic
Studies, believes these crisis are part of a plot orchestrated
by remnants of the former Mubarak regime to trigger chaos in
the country.

Analyst Nabil Abd-al-Fattah looks at the crisis as a mere
sign of the disintegrated state "which has not been
functioning for decades."

Moreover, it is still unclear how more than 10 million
Egyptians abroad will cast their vote after a landamark ruling
of the Supreme Administrative Court to enable expatriates to
take part in the parliamentary polls.

Liberal Egyptians see this as a much needed step to
provide legitimacy to the polls. Egyptians living abroad are
believed to be mainly liberals and against movements supported
by radical Islamist groups in the country.

PTI