Riot police cordoned off polling stations in this Nile Delta village Thursday to prevent people from voting as Egypt entered the final round of legislative elections that have been marred by violence and allegations of fraud.
The ability to vote varied from town to town among the nine provinces where polling took place, but the use of police to stop people from voting in this northern village or to deter them from voting in some southern villages appeared to show that the government had gone back on its promise of free and fair elections.
"I'm calling on his excellency, the president, to appoint the members of parliament because no one has been allowed to vote," Sameer Fikri, a voter, said sarcastically. "It would save the money wasted on elections."
I'm surprised that last sentence hasn't become one of the Liberal talking points. Paul Martin already appoints the Senate. Look how much money he saves taxpayers by doing so, and how much the Conservatives would waste by having Senate election.
Besides, not having a Christmas election campaign ever again would save even more money, to be returned in the form of tax rebates to spend on Christmas gifts and parties!
A police lieutenant said "I don't know" when asked why both polling stations in the village had been cordoned off. An Associated Press reporter was not allowed in the polling station to ask officials there despite having the required election press pass.
One reason could be that Sandoub is the hometown of Saber Zaher, a favored candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has proved to be the pacesetter for change in the staggered elections. In the two earlier rounds of polling this month, Brotherhood-backed candidates won 76 seats in the 454-seat parliament, more than five times its representation in the outgoing assembly.
Would the RCMP follow order to help commit election fraud to keep the Liberals in power, if it came to that, by intimidating voters at polling stations in close ridings? The more observant--or paranoid--among us have raised questions before about the RCMP's pliancy in the hands of the PMO.
Has the Liberal Party reached that depth of corruption yet?