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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Egyptian elections: Your views
Egyptian man wipes his colleagues brow as they put up poster of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt
Defeated contenders in Egypt's first presidential elections have rejected the results as void after President Hosni Mubarak won his fifth six-year term.

President Mubarak, who has been in power for 24 years, won with 88.6% of the votes.

Nine other candidates challenged Mr Mubarak but the electoral commission has rejected a call from Ayman Nour of the Ghad (Tomorrow) Party for the election to be re-run.

Are you an Egyptian who voted? Do you think these elections signal the beginning of democratic change in Egypt? What are the most important issues for you?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of views received:

Democracy is a word that's only claimed but never experienced in Egypt
Tina, Cairo, Egypt
My family went to vote but the same thing happened to us, we didn't find our names in the name list. It is so humiliating the way they try to fool and underestimate the peoples' minds. Who are they trying to fool. Another thing really bothered me is that the duration of the candidate's presidential campaign were really short thus making people so confused as they were unable to judge the candidates or even trust their vows. Democracy is a word that's only claimed but never experienced in Egypt.
Tina, Cairo, Egypt

The majority of Egyptians, because they know how the so-called elections will turn out, don't even bother to become registered voters. Mr Mubarak announced in early 2005 that there would be multi-candidate presidential elections. I went to get myself registered as a voter. I want to have a clear conscience before God. I was told voter registry is only in December of each year. Funny, I thought to myself. I guess that's why the election is in September. Ironic, isn't it?
Abdallah, Cairo

I think it is heartbreaking to watch such a large and vibrant population to accept such a ridiculous 'democratic' system.
Ali Dajani, Amman, Jordan

So only 25% of the 32 million registered voters actually went to the polls? That's 8 million people, or roughly the Egyptian population living outside of Egypt, who were not eligible to vote. It's not unrealistic to assume that virtually all of those living abroad would have voted, and voted against Mubarak. Just imagine how many of those who voted for Mubarak did so out of fear and/or influenced by phony religious figures.
Hazem El-Attaar, Dearborn, Michigan

This election was a giant step in the right direction for Egypt
Wagih, Toronto, Canada
This election was a giant step in the right direction for Egypt, changes take time. I expect more steps on the freedom path to follow. Congratulations Egypt!
Wagih, Toronto, Canada

My brother and I went to vote but didn't find our names and came back so disappointed! Many similar cases of negligence in handling the voters' lists were reported. The whole election thing is a play. The only positive thing I can hope for is that Egyptians' eyes are now open to the corruption of the ruling party and stand up for our freedom of choice and right to choose, or else, there will always be a Mubarak ruling the country.
Nada, Cairo, Egypt

Let's face it, there was no real competition. It was a criminal waste of precious resources, which represents an example of how you can add to the suffering of an economy that has been beaten to death by ignorance and corruption. It was a naive attempt to convince Western "allies" that Egypt is heading for democracy. What is really interesting is that despite irregularities, still the majority of the people went and voted for him. To understand this black comedy, one should understand the psychology of the Egyptian masses. Most of us believe that what you know is better than what you don't know. If everybody decides to exercise their right to vote, he/his son will lose the next elections.
Tamer Said, Alexandria, Egypt

The theatrical game is over in Egypt. It was so disgusting and did not even deserve any media coverage. Every thing was controlled about this election.
Kamal, USA

One simple question must be asked while the widely expected landslide victory of Mubarak's looms: What does he have to hide by not allowing monitors to be present?
Ted, Indianapolis, MI, US

Mubarak won but the political atmosphere in Egypt is no longer as stagnant as it's been
Moataz, Egyptian living in England
We've to accept it; Mubarak won but the political atmosphere in Egypt is no longer as stagnant as it's been. The opposition (Kefaya, Islamist, socialist and liberal) should unite in one front. If the pressures continue on Mubarak, I expect he will do more. Yet, we have also to stop being passive.
Moataz, Egyptian living in England

I voted for Mubarak yesterday. To tell the truth my casting process only took about 10 to 13 minutes. It was very transparent where I voted and nobody looked to be biased to Mubarak, in fact there were many Nour voters who were speaking greatly about Nour. Egypt really needs Mubarak and as an Egyptian liberal, I believe that Mubarak is the most liberal of all the candidates who rely on some religious groups such as the Muslim brotherhood like Nour. I proudly voted for Mubarak and we are finally a democracy. Yet I know it is the first step on a long road, so be it!
Ahmed, Cairo, Egypt

We have tried Mubarak for more than two decades and he has proved worthy of his position. He is a very politically wise person. At least, it is enough to feel safe and secure knowing that religious discrimination has been eliminated to a very large extent during his presidency period. May God bless him and help him gain the opposing people's trust during his coming presidency period.
Christine Wanis, Cairo, Egypt

This is a start. We can not expect Egypt to go to a full blown 100% transparent democracy overnight. This is the first step and there will be many more. Give them time. Each society must progress at its own rate and not by standards that others set from the outside.
Sultan Mehrabi, Raleigh, USA

It is odd to have that many candidates. It reminded me of California. It was meant to reflect "democracy" but it only created confusion and distraction of the inexperienced voters. The votes of the opposition was scattered over nine candidates ensuring none of them would be a serious threat. If the opposition was serious and smart about this they should have united all their limited resources and nominated a single candidate.

The Mubarak posters are definitely everywhere, but it's not surprising since he has the most experience and financial backing to be able to put up such a visual campaign. I think this is normal for a country that has not voted in a while, you go with what you know until other parties get strong enough and numerous enough to make their platforms well known. This election should be viewed not as corrupt, but as the start of that process.
Tricia Pethic, Cairo, Egypt

As has been said before, this election is nothing but an optical illusion. The corrupt system dominating Egypt now will never leave through election. People are deceiving themselves by buying into this farce. It is amazing how the Western media is hailing this joke as a step towards reform and they now will it is just a step to legitimise a dictatorship and what will be soon another monarchy. A much fairer election (although not perfect) in Iran got all kind of attacks from the same media. And then you talk about lack of trust!
Sherif, Nashville, USA

People that call it a farce are missing the point
Ash, Cairo, Egypt
This definitely is a step in the right direction. People that call it a farce are missing the point. As one reader put it, Mubarak was forced to open Pandora's box and there is no way of closing it. We are seeing a level of freedom of expression that is unprecedented in the past 50 years. I just hope that one day all those responsible for destroying this country will be held accountable.
Ash, Cairo, Egypt

As a Chicago student studying abroad at the American University in Cairo, I was excited to be living in Egypt in the midst of the country's first 'democratic' presidential election. But, remarkably, today proved to very dull and disappointing. I had expected riots in the streets; instead, Cairo was relatively quiet and the few protests that did occur broke up within minutes. Earlier in the week several Egyptian students had warned me not to attend classes today because travelling from the dorm to campus would be too dangerous. Evidently the city's residents chose not to vote for the same reason the majority of AUC students failed to show up at the polls: Because Mubarak is going to win no matter what.
Christina Paschyn, Cairo, Egypt

I voted for Ayman Nour. I did not witness any violent or inappropriate behaviour by officials and since I went early I saw myself that the boxes were empty. I believe Mubarak will win due to major support in the lower class and uneducated masses who still don't even know what this is all about, plus the rural masses who fear for their income to become even less than efficient under the effect of speedy economic reform proposed by Nour. In my humble opinion those who did not participate/vote are the one to blame for what good is talking in a cafe and not going to cast my vote?
Youssef N. Ibrahim, Cairo, Egypt

Hosni Mubarak and his government say the Egyptians are not ready to live in a democratic environment, they would not know how to live. I think the opposite is the truth. The Egyptians are ready to live in freedom but the government lead by Mubarak are not ready to let go of their presidential chairs and associated wealth.
Essam, Cairo, Egypt

I think Egypt will learn from this - people can now say what they want
Hady, Alexandria, Egypt
I think Egypt is on her first steps to democracy. No doubt President Mubarak will win in this election, but this election made Egyptians care about politics. I think Egypt will learn from this. People can now say what they want.
Hady, Alexandria, Egypt

Enough is Enough!! Enough for Mubarak, we have been through this for a long time. The conditions are going down. We need a change, we need a new mind to take over. Mubarak as the rest of the previous made enough money for himself and his family so what else does he need? No regulations, no discipline no nothing. bribing and forging everywhere. I am sure the elections won't come out the correct result.
Mohamed Ali, Virginia, USA

Egypt has long been a centre of moderation in the Arab world where secularists and the very religious have lived in some relative harmony. The longer Egyptians wait for adequately transparent elections, the greater the strength radical voices in Egyptian society will become.
Michael Kurutz, Cleveland, Ohio USA

Since Mubarak has to please United States he's not going to win with 99.9% support but with merely 80%, jus like his son, Gamal, in the next election. "The more things change, the more they stay the same".
Mirek Kondracki, Bielsko-Biala, Poland

The simultaneous existence of poverty and lack of freedom of expression are to blame for all the problems facing the Arab World. With the increased number of improved people in Egypt and absence of democracy for the last 24 years, this latest episode of possibly rigged elections will only deepen the calamity of the situation and pave the way for environment that breeds terrorism and political unrest. Mr Mubarak should have resigned; nobody thinks that at this age and after almost quarter of a century in power he would turn the tide and improve a country disparate for economical and political reform.
Ali Somali, Texas, USA

In essence, beyond the cosmetics, once again, it's a sham. And you wonder why the apathy?
Isma'il Kamal, CA, USA

From BBCArabic.com: I went to cast my vote. First, I went for my voting card and I found three individuals each sitting in front of a computer, all wearing Mubarak t-shirts. I got my card and went to the voting committees but found that there was an error in my number. A man told me that I will be given a card provided I swear that my vote goes to Mubarak. I refused and went back to get the right card and then headed for the polling centre, took out a paper with the 10 candidates' names on it, picked my choice and headed to the ballot to place it. The individual seated in front of the ballot took it from me and another person spoke to me. Then I glanced at the person who took my paper and asked him where it was, to which he replied that I had long since put it in the ballot! I looked at him with disgust and left. Of course I didn't vote for Mubarak and I don't know if he put the paper in the ballot or not, but I know that I regretted having gone to vote.
Mohammed Mansour Annaqeeb, Cairo, Egypt

From BBCArabic.com: I will go for the first time in my life to vote in a presidential election even though I know for certain that Hosni Mubarak will win, because I have no confidence in the fairness of the election. I will vote for anyone except Mubarak, hoping for a miracle.
Mohammad Sameh Tamman, Cairo, Egypt

From BBCArabic.com: I will say yes to Mubarak no matter what and I find it is in Egypt's best interests to have Mubarak as a leader in this sensitive period we're going through. I expect the elections will be the fairest ever in Egypt's history. I say those opposed to Mubarak have hidden agendas. Mubarak's Egypt is the Egypt of peace and love and security despite all your goals.
Izzat Aziz Habib, Cairo, Egypt

From BBCArabic.com: Here's what I saw: Members of the state affairs committee, part of the executive authority, are spread all over the committees claiming to be judges even though a judicial ruling strips them of that title. Meanwhile, the real judges were moved aside. I managed to take the ink, said to be phosphorous, off my hand after only 20 minutes using water and soap and some alcohol and detergents. In a nutshell, the electoral process now underway in polling centres is firmly on its way to becoming an international scandal.
Mohammad Tawfic, Zaqazeeq, Egypt

From BBCArabic.com: Twenty four years are not enough for change, and the president wants more? Is it possible for him to achieve now what he couldn't achieve in 24 years? Why aren't Egyptians abroad allowed to vote? If I were in Egypt I would have voted for Ayman Noor, the best of the bad. By the way, I've been ruled by Mubarak since I was born.
Shadi Mohammad, Egyptian in Kuwait

From BBCArabic.com: I voted and the phosphoric ink came off after 4 hours. What does that mean?
Mohammad Abd el-Wahab, Egypt

This election is just a dog and pony show staged for the Americans
Ahmed, Alexandria, Egypt
No issue is more important to me than fighting corruption by enforcing transparency and accountability of public officials. If Mubarak was truly serious about that he would start by disclosing his own and his family's finances. Of course, that and many other prerequisites for a truly democratic system will never happen. This election is just a dog and pony show staged for the Americans.
Ahmed, Alexandria, Egypt

I think in general these elections could be considered as a good step. I am not sure if I am going to vote or not because I think it will not make any difference. The given time for the campaigns is not enough in my opinion. The most important issues for me are fighting corruption, the role of scientific development in economic progress , keeping the cultural identity of Egypt and keeping Egypt safe.
Eman, Cairo, Egypt

I'm one of the 3 million Egyptians living abroad who are eligible to vote but won't be able to because the constitutional amendment didn't consider them. I don't think the elections will make any difference; Mubarak is going to win in a landslide victory; dictatorship will be legitimised by having polls instead of a referendum. The liberal Wafd party is my choice; but unfortunately its candidate does not enjoy the bias of the state-sponsored media to Mubarak's campaign
Moataz Attallah, Egyptian living in Britain

I am a Brit currently living in Egypt and I see these elections as a farce. On the streets there are only Mubarak posters and banners and no one seems to talk about the thousands of Egyptians who oppose Mubarak's dictatorship and are currently in jail because of it. If Mubarak really cared about what his people wanted, he would've resigned a long way back!
Shab, Cairo, Egypt

Please note that the elections are not permitted in the Egyptian Embassies abroad. Please revise this fact before thinking to vote. The elections here are fair, and although incomplete, they are a very important political step towards a full reform.
Mahmoud Lasheen, Cairo, Egypt

We have lost confidence in any real change in Egypt. The regime tries to beautify itself by the new presidential election, however no real change is happening. Egypt needs a total political reform in order for the country to move forward. The current regime does not seem to realize that it is leading the country to a disaster. Whether a referendum or multi-candidate election, Mubarak (and son) and his National party junkies have put all needed precautions to still have a monopoly in the political scene in Egypt. The whole thing is a scam.
Sherif Fahmy, Cairo, Egypt

I feel proud to be an Egyptian today
Afaf Ezz, Cairo, Egypt
Today is a historic moment in Egypt's history, and I was very excited to take part and vote in today's elections. The polling station I voted at was organised, the officials efficient, and I saw no trace of forgery or foul play. I feel proud to be an Egyptian today.
Afaf Ezz, Cairo, Egypt

It was like a dream come true to see a partial exercise for democracy happening and we percept it as a crucial push towards political positivity. Mubarak has made the right move at last. We will elect him again and we expect him to make changes in depth and replace many of the everlasting faces that have dwelled so long in the National Party and the parliament.
Maha Fanous, Cairo, Egypt

I just voted for an opposition candidate. It is only fair to point out that I was not harassed or prevented from voting even though I made my voting intentions known. The idiom "give them an inch, they'd take a mile" kept coming to my mind. This is the inch Mubarak's regime gave (or was forced to give), it is up to us to take the rest of the mile. In any case, no one will be able to
Don't you think it is about time to have a maximum number of terms?
Bassam Ahmed, UAE
Don't you think it is about time to have a maximum number of terms? All countries have that system: US two terms, France two terms. Even Lebanon has a maximum of one term. How come in Egypt this is the fifth term? The president is 77 years old. By the time he leaves he will be 83. There is no retirement age.
Bassam Ahmed, UAE

Yes for Mubarak, the man has done a great job in rebuilding Egypt after the two wars. I just hope that his party will pay attention in creating jobs for the unemployed and create a national health system that can heal the poor before the rich. May God protect Egypt, always.
Fathi Elgemeie, Sydney - Australia

Hosni has tailored the election rules to guarantee his position as a president.
Hossam, Cairo, Egypt

I'm an Egyptian living in Germany. To me, these elections are the first step towards real democracy. The next important step should be setting the presidential rule for not more than two terms. I am patient and confident I'll see that day.
FAW, Germany

Sure I will vote, but not for Mubarak and the only reason that would make me vote for someone else is he is not Hosni Mubarak.
Karim, Cairo, Egypt

It is rather strange that the elections in Egypt are presented by the Western media as democratic while these same media considered the elections in Iran as being forged. I am anxious to remind that in the case of Iran, there were several candidates with a real suspense, what is not the case of Egypt where Mubarak is already elected. Yet more proof of the attempts of manipulations of the public opinions.
Yamedjeu, Brussels, Belgium

This is the first time to see elections here in Egypt, you won't imagine I m 25 years old I have never seen any president except Mubarak which makes me fed up. I'm happy that I'm finally able to choose another president but in the same time I think this is not fair to compete with a man who was the president for 24 years. I think that Mubarak shouldn't be one of the 10 candidates because that means the others have no chance because everyone knows Mubarak but no one knows the others.
Nancy, Cairo, Egypt

Surely it's time he stepped aside and let someone else have a go
Lionel, Leeds
This guy has been in power for close to 50 years. Surely it's time he stepped aside and let someone else have a go or is he a monarch with presidential delusions?
Lionel, Leeds

After living and studying for the past year in Cairo, I can tell you that not a single educated Egyptian feels there has been any sort of reform. The fact is that already people are being told that they will be turned away from opposition polling stations.
Taylor, Philadelphia, USA

I am a study abroad student in Egypt right now. If you really think about it this is a big step. This is the first time the country has ever chosen who it wants to lead. It won't be fair, and it definitely isn't, but it is ridiculous to think a country could make such a big jump. This is a step, by no means the last, but a good first.
Jon, Cairo, Egypt

I'm very sceptical and it is obvious Nasser will win, the other parties are barely known and Nasser has such strong influence over the press, and the lack of freedom to Islamic political groups and secular groups to speak out freely, until there's more freedom of expression, little will change in terms of fairer elections.
Anatlus Ali, London, UK

This election process in Egypt is yet another fruit to the Iraqi lead in democracy in the Middle East. Egypt is still very far behind Iraq but it's a step in the right direction. This sends a strong message to the rest of the Arab world that you have to do something even if it's fake or incomplete like Mubarak's elections.
Mohammed, London, UK

I am surprised to hear those happy with the prospects of Mubarak winning the presidency. The corruption that he has embedded into the country is destroying lives, creating poverty and damaging all our livelihoods. Professionals are escaping the country because there is no hope for a decent life. People are dying of hunger. Human rights are violated on a large scale. Elections and polls are rigged. Enough is enough.
Ahmed, UK

I'm an Egyptian living abroad. Firstly it is clear that Hosni Mubarak is going to win and he shouldn't be allowed to run again. It is of course not even a thought that he would step down voluntarily. Secondly, even though it isn't a one horse race, the country is politically active these days which hasn't been present since the days before Nasser. In that air, I think this political move is good. Political parties will need to take this for the experience and gear themselves up for the next election by gaining stronger public support and not allowing another Mubarak (namely Mubarak's son) to run in the next election.
Mohamed, Montreal, Canada

It is nice to see change in Egypt, but it is very superficial. Mubarak will win and his son will take over in six years. If Egyptians want to change they will have to move and move fast before it becomes the kingdom of Egypt.
Ayman Mohammed, NJ, USA

I think this is a good start towards democratic changes, but to ensure its success there should be complete transparency in elections so that there is a good path for others to follow and an example for other Arab countries to take. The past has gone and the winds of change are billowing so let us change ourselves rather to be changed.
Yussri Alli, Khartoum, Sudan

I am an Egyptian living in the US, and I do not plan to vote for fear of reprisal. If I vote in my embassy, it would be known I voted for whom. The constitutional amendment is a farce as it relies heavily on the Parliament (dominated by NDP) to approve the candidates. There are no political reforms - it is merely a theatrical act to having Mubarak "democratically re-elected" and his son nominated for coming elections.

The only good about Mr Mubarak's win will be political stability in Egypt. Egypt will continue to be poor and rely on US aids because Mr Mubarak is a dictator. Have you seen any country rule by a dictator prosper?
Robert Liang, KL, Malaysia

Change is a change no matter how little it can be and this election in Egypt is a sign of change that's underway. To the critics I say I would rather have President Mubarak for another term instead of a radical Islamist who may turn Egypt into an Islamic republic.
Ywai John Ywai, San Diego, Ca

If free, fair and transparent elections are under way, then why has the presidential electoral commission completely disregarded the judicial court's ruling that allows non-governmental monitors inside areas where balloting is taking place? On another note, it seems rather odd that after 24 years in control, promises are now being made about helping the people. Too little, too late.
AM, Cairo, Egypt

This is a good start towards political reform, but it is not at all enough to claim true democracy in a country that suffered for generations under a single party regime. Could there ever be true democracy when the media, police and judicial system are still controlled and run by that single party government? There should be a limit to how many years a president should be in power and there should be accountability towards social and economic reform. There is a need to educate the public and make voting a way of life.
Yasser Omar, Greenwich, CT, USA

It is only one step in the right direction for democracy
Saleebrizk, Ontario, Canada
It is only one step in the right direction for democracy. It should be followed by more steps .The Egyptian people can keep it in the right direction by applying more pressure on the government and taking a positive role in the elections .
Saleebrizk, Ontario, Canada

To all Egyptians, please vote and ask your family to vote. This is our chance to change the bad reality. Ayman Nour promised a free election in two years. This the only hope to have a real election between Amr Mousa and Abu Ghazala in 2007. Please vote!
Kamel, Michigan, USA

This elections is nothing but a joke and Mubarak is just buying time to leave every thing to his son. I personally will vote for Ayman Nour he is the best candidate available as Mubarak made sure that no strong candidates runs against him.
Waleed, Egypt

I think the most important question with regard to the upcoming Egyptian elections is whether the recent developments signal the beginning of democratic change in Egypt. My answer is a resounding yes! The Egyptian people have taken a peek inside Pandora's Box. Mubarak's desperate attempts at saving face will do little now to prevent it from blowing wide open. As the ruling regime's legitimacy has been called into question on local and international levels, it's only a matter of time before its rotting autocracy will shrivel up and die as quietly as it took control of the country and robbed it of its energy and vitality. This is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of not only Egypt but the entire region.
Ibrahim Bosiri, Shenwan, Egypt

Egypt is trotting the very first steps to democracy. We need a few more years for the whole community to grasp these changes and to be in a good position to choose a new leader.
Khaled, London

Mubarak has done a fantastic job, especially bearing in mind how he maintained order after the assassination of Sadat and kept Egypt away from any likelihood of going back to the ways of Nasser. Egypt needs him.
Mike, Ivybridge, UK

If Egypt its a democratic country everything will go accordingly, but if there are people who are intimidating others it will not be a free and fair election it will be politically motivated.
Dili Silimfe, Vereeniging, South Africa


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