Election Controversies in the Middle East

Today, November 4th, 2014, is a big day for the democratic process in the United States. Today, the people of the United States will elect who they see fit to fill 33 seats in the Senate and all of the seats in the House of Representatives. Eligible citizens make their way to the designated polls to cast their vote. The voting process is as democratic as it gets as each person that is a current citizen and above 18 years old can vote so that their voice can be heard.

2014 seems to be a rather important year for elections over in the Middle East as well. Three large players are due to hold or have held parliamentary and/or presidential elections this year. The three countries are Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq. In the past, the politics of these three countries have been quite controversial and controversy seems to be inevitable in the elections of 2014 as well.


Egypt’s political crisis has been in an uproar since the Summer of 2012 when the Supreme Court decided to dissolve the house of parliament. What started the crisis in 2012 was elected president Mohamed Morsi being taking out of office in a military dispute. After his removal from office, a committee has been formed to rewrite the Egyptian constitution and reinstate the house of parliament and then focus on electing a new president. Earlier this year, an announcement was made by Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, that the parliamentary polls would be held in March 2014 and that the presidential election would be held in the summer of 2014. However, due to lack of support of the new constitution, the elections have been pushed back and it seems it will be the summer of 2015 that we will see an election of a new president. Protests of these elections do not seem as if they are going to end soon but it does not seem that the protests will hinder the process anymore. Egyptian Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mehleb, has recently announced that they will hold a parliamentary election before the end of this year.


The first Iraqi elections after the withdrawal of the troops were held in April of 2014 which resulted in Nouri Maliki’s “State of Law” alliance winning most of the seats in the Council of Representatives. Many people doubted Maliki after he was blamed for sectarian violence that has seen up to 3,500 casualties and was accused of trying to take all of the power. Although these accusations arose Maliki’s “State of Law” still won the most seats (92 of 328) in the election. The United States Embassy in Baghdad said in regards to the election that it was, “a testament to the courage and resilience of the Iraqi people, and another milestone in the democratic development of Iraq.”


The Afghanistan Presidential election was held in April of 2014 and the result has been very controversial. The first round of voting concluded with Abdullah Abdullah ahead of his co-runner Ashraf Ghani. However, after the second round it seemed that Asraf Ghani was ahead of Abdullah, making Ghani the new president of Afghanistan. Right? Wrong. After a very long and drawn out appeal process, former president of Afghanistan, Karzai, sat down with both Abdullah and Ghani and drew up a Unity Government that resulted in Ghani as the president and Abdullah as his Chief Officer. This Unity Government was signed by both men and Ghani was sworn into office.









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