Egyptian court ruling ignites fury
In a crowd gathered outside the court, some called the ruling a political decision aimed at keeping the old system in place while others called it a “soft coup.”
Political activist Mohamed Abdullah said it’s now clear that “everyone wants to hand over power to Shafiq.” “The deal with Shafiq,” he added, “is [that] he’s like a cat with nine lives: He’s the one protecting the regime.”
The ruling comes two days before a run-off pitting Shafiq against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi — a choice some find intolerable.
“There is no candidate of the Egyptian revolution, no candidate who would cleanse the country of corruption,” said student protester Abdullah Mahmoud.
Some saw corruption in the ruling itself and in events leading up to it. One of the court’s judges heads the election commission – an apparent conflict of interest that protesters have decried – while Egypt’s ruling military council only yesterday re-authorized soldiers to arrest civilians.
While some in the crowd vowed to keep up the street protests that they thought had brought down the old system last year, columnist and political observer Rania el Malki says the time for effective demonstrations may have passed.
“We are going to have the elections. People are going to go to the polls,” said el Malki. “They are going to say what they want, and at the end of the day nothing is going to change the outcome.”
Still, some want to register objections to both candidates at the polls, and one group that is gaining momentum is urging voters to spoil their ballots.
Mahmoud, the student protester, said nullified votes would tell the two candidates “there is a third power.”
But it’s far from clear if those currently in power will pay heed to protests, silent or otherwise.