On to a new perspective
In 1-year time I am about to witness my third elections this year. To be more precise, even in three different countries. Around this time last year I had elections in my home country The Netherlands. A half year later I saw fierce competition in the elections in Thailand. Now there will be elections in June in Egypt. When I look back at the elections, all were crucial elections, stressed heavily by the media and emphasized by political parties and society. But perhaps all elections are crucial. The Dutch elections had to be held because the cabinet Balkende IV dissolved in 2010. The elections mainly became crucial because of the focus on the financial crisis and the inevitable cutbacks. A little flavour of extreme right wing and you have good national television content. There is large diversity in political parties and viewpoints in the Netherlands and the outcome had also to be waited by the Dutch.
Elections in Thailand dealt however with only 2 parties. In fact, there are many more but the main stride was between the Democrats (yellow-shirts) and the People’s Party (red-shirts). The elections were enforced by heavy riots and occupations in the centre of Bangkok between red and yellow back in 2010.
In run-up to the elections Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra led the People’s Party. She is the younger sister of the former president Mr. Thaksin, who was expelled out of the country and could not come back until then. The democrats however heavily promoted with the message: “Vote NO!” There were posters included with pictures of animals, like a monkey or a bull pictured like a parliament candidate. According to the Democrats or Royalists the elections were corrupted and therefore called people not to vote. In July 2011 however the elections were held and the red-shirts won the elections with almost 50 %. By now the Pheu- Thai Party is in power and Mr. Thaksin is allowed back in the country.
In Egypt there will be the first free elections of the country. After the revolution in the 1950’s there came a new political system, but never one with free choice of the president. The power remained in the same political top. These coming elections are really important for Egypt and the level is really high and there will be a lot of pressure on the new president. Key point in the elections is rights, from now for everyone and equal for everyone. Some aspects of this and the Mubarak period is something of which everyone distances itself.
After the fall of Mubarak a lot of previous expelled people were able to get back in the country. Among them a lot of brothers of the Muslim Brotherhood, they are now amongst the favourites to rule the country. Unique of Egypt is that the country also has parties that want to obtain religion in the constitution. Different then a Christian party as for example in the Netherlands, these parties will use the religion as guideline and in the constitution. There is a lot of speculation about the new president of Egypt and there is a superfluous offer of new and independent parties and candidates. A lot of citizens do not know what or whom they will vote, but the discussion is vividly and present. This will change in 2 months and there is a great chance the discussion will get more heated.
Interesting of course is that in Egypt great decisions and steps are inevitable to be taken, at least, that is what it looks like. That is why this election is maybe the one most important of the three.
Me, I am genuine excited in the elections and the new road that will unfold for Egypt. Hopefully towards a more stable path for the country and its people. Anyway, I will return in September to my home country and guess… I have to elect again, this time for my own government, which again dissolved. Crucial…