My brief roundup of elections in Mansoura, and why the liberal Revolution Continues Alliance is uniquely strong relative to elsewhere in Egypt is up on Al-Masry Al-Youm. Nothing particularly new or unexpected in the article, though I have gotten some confirmation from people since then that the farmer/worker individual seat race is indeed quite close between former NDP-member Wahid Fouda and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Tariq Qutb. It seems like a runoff will be underway.
This race is going to be quite interesting, as long as people actually vote, in terms of which way alliances will swing. Recently in a conversation with Hamdi Qnawi, a member of Kefaya, an anti-regime stalwart, and the professional seat candidate supported by the Revolutoin Continues, I got the impression that it wasn’t obvious who he would choose in this race. In fact, he declined to tell me who he would vote for, but only implied that it wasn’t easy, because he was left with “Islamists on the one hand, and falul on the other.”
To make the point, here is a guy who has been thrown in jail mutiple times at the hands of the former regime, who has been protesting against them in various ways since the 1980s, and who has been pushing for the revolution since before some of the revolutionaries were born, and he is still unsure whether he could choose an Islamist over one of the guys who used to beat and arrest him.
There’s something to say here about how incredibly disheartened some liberals must be with how the races have gone thus far, and the level of disgust some must have for how well the Islamist parties have done, if that much wasn’t already incredibly obvious.
Below is an old newspaper clip of Hamdi Qnawi protesting against the treatment of journalists, back when doing so was, to make an understatement, a bit less popular. Behind makeshift bars, he holds up a sign saying “The home of the journalists.”