Free, fair elections still distant prospect in Egypt

Cairo, Feb.9 (ANI): Free and fair elections in Egypt are still a distant prospect if democracy activists are to be believed.

While millions of Egyptians have taken to the streets to clamor for freedom and the removal of President Hosni Mubarak, the country's pro-democracy forces have been so battered and marginalized by decades of repression that advocates say it would take many months - if not years - to lay the groundwork for open and credible elections.ccording to the Washington Post, under Egypt's constitution, the country will be required to hold a presidential election within 60 days if Mubarak quits or is pushed out; only candidates handpicked by Mubarak's party would be eligible to run.

Many of those urging a speedier exit for Mubarak acknowledge that the country is not prepared for quick elections soon.

Some of them support the idea of a transitional government that might take power soon and then wield power for as long as a year, putting off a presidential election until early 2012.

The WP quoted Negad El Borai, a human rights advocate and lawyer in Cairo, as saying that a caretaker president and prime minister should take over from Mubarak and oversee a coalition government, perhaps for as long as a year, until a proper election can be held.

There is, however, no guarantee that such a process would go moothly in a country without democratic institutions. E

The last time Mubarak promised a fair election in Egypt, for a parliamentary vote in November, ballot boxes were stuffed, cash bribes were handed out, thugs menaced voters, while international observers were banned from the country.

Most of the opposition simply gave up, and Mubarak's party kept the parliament in a landslide. (ANI)

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