Egyptian elections: Choose none of the above

Al-Akhbar English reports: A day after the results of the first round of the presidential election were announced, the ground floor of the Journalists’ Syndicate was buzzing. Unlike the arguments blaring through the capital, the crowd wasn’t concerned with comparing the two candidates that made it to the runoffs. The keyword that evening was “boycott.”

“If you are here, it means you chose to boycott. We are here to discuss suggestions on how to do so,” journalist Rasha Azab told the crowd as the final snippets of sunlight filtered through the glass panels of the syndicate lobby on Tuesday.

Stickers blazoned with the campaign’s title, “Muqateoun” (Boycotters), were passed around. It wasn’t a place to discuss the pros and cons of the boycott; it was time for action.

A day earlier, the Presidential Election Committee (PEC) declared the winners of the first round: The Muslim Brotherhood (MB)’s Mohammed Mursi with 5.7 million votes, 25 percent, and ex-Air Force general Ahmed Shafik with 5.5 million, 24 percent.

Having the two most polarizing candidates as winners left voters grimacing at having to choose between an Islamist or military state. The campaign that materialized later on Tuesday aims to present a third option.

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