Second round of Presidential elections. Photo Credit Virginie Nguyen, Al Masry al Youm.
The first day of presidential elections in Egypt has been extremely quiet. We kept everyone indoors today, out of worry for our safety, but it was one of the quietest days I have ever experienced in Cairo. I noticed that the muezzin gave a particularly elegant, and flowery call this afternoon in the call to prayer, but that was the only unusual item of the day.
After so many elections, two for the peoples assembly, two for the shura, and now two for the President, citizens are certainly facing election fatigue. Furthermore, Thursday's decision has invalidated all the hard work that went into electing the only democratic body in Egypt, the parliament.
The military (the SCAF) is in full control of the government, and everyone is in shock. The SCAF has full legislative powers until parliament is reelected. If Shafiq wins the presidency, the SCAF will hold both legislative and executive powers. The judiciary was never reformed, so represents part of the Mubarak regime. Jaadaliya reports that court rulings represent a blow to civilian forces.
The euphoria that reigned a year ago after the revolution has been replaced by a kind of despair. But activists are not giving up. They continue to organize. They continue to build their party, and strengthen their ground and grassroots contacts. Their faith is inspiring, and the revolution is still alive.
Vote turnout has been extremely low. Two different projects are afoot, one to boycott the elections, and one to turn in invalidated ballots. Activists plan vote nullification campaign.