Since the beginning of the 1980’s, we lost the constitutional reform. In August 2004, nine opposition parties made an alliance I speak for. This coalition reiterated our demands and wishes, above all, to limit the President’s terms of office. As you could see, the president has only amended one article, the one that establishes the presidential election by universal vote and the possibility of having several nominations. It’s something, but the new text is not good, since nobody can present a serious opposition to Mubarak and it is not possible to monitor the elections. This is the reason why we boycott them. We don’t want to be part of a farce that will end as a drama. We don’t want to be extras, that is, we don’t want to be around if the leading man will stay permanently on the stage. Nevertheless, the problem is not in the documents, it’s on the people’s minds.
We work with parties that participate in the elections, such as the Wafd. The participation in the boycott does not mean we oppose the vote. We have the same goals. The meetings we just had with the Wafd have prepared us for the coming period after the presidential elections to have a new coalition ready to fight for a real democracy and freedom. We will participate in the legislative elections to be held in November. Contrary to the presidential election, the legislative vote will be monitored by the judges. At least in this case, I mean, in the legislative elections, we won’t have to fight a Pharaoh! All those who have been appointed by the ruling power will be on their own in this elections.
The Americans have kept saying they want democracy in Egypt. But they actually use this argument to pressure Mubarak. Thus, Condoleezza Rice succeeded in forcing Egypt to send an ambassador to Iraq, gas to Israel and the visit by Ariel Sharon at the end of September. After this, Rice affirmed that the presence of international observers was not essential. Later, when Mubarak said he wanted to pressure Sharon with regard to the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, Washington started to talk about international observers again. Americans don’t care about Egypt’s interests.

L’Humanité (France)

Une comédie électorale qui va finir en drame, Rifaat Said, L’Humanité, September 3, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.