Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The fruits of the war in Iraqi. Egypt is holding it's first multi-candidate presidential election. I don't know how much of a fair race this really is, but it's a start:

Campaigning in Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential election kicked off Wednesday with President Hosni Mubarak — unchallenged for 24 years and almost certain to win — trying to depict himself as just another competitor in a 10-man race.

The Sept. 7 election is the cornerstone of Mubarak's reform program, and his government is trying to show it will be a fair race to convince skeptical Egyptians it is serious about greater democracy.

Previously, Mubarak was re-elected in yes-no referendums with only him on the ballot. But the United States has been pressing Mubarak, one of its closest Arab allies, to move ahead with democratic change, and the fairness of the election is a major test of Washington's policy of promoting reform in the Middle East.

Several major opposition parties are boycotting the vote, saying claims of open competition are a sham. The overpowering edge Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party enjoys in organization and influence was clear from the first day of campaigning, when billboards praising him cropped up overnight across the Egyptian capital. No opposition ads were to be seen.
(full article)

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