Former Egyptian general calls promise of free elections a ‘farce’

n13-iconThe New York Times reports: Critics of the military takeover here often say the generals’ promise of free elections is little more than a bad joke. Now a prominent former military man who cheered the takeover seems to agree: Ahmed Shafik, a former general and prime minister and the runner-up in the last presidential election, has called it a “farce.”

Mr. Shafik had not planned on making his opinion quite so public. But these days in Egypt, conversations are often not as private as they seem.

“I know very well they will fix all the ballot boxes,” Mr. Shafik said in a leaked recording of a private conversation that he authenticated Thursday. He said in the recording that he would not run because the new government was rigging the race in favor of Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, who led the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer and is expected to enter and win the election to succeed him.

“I have taken myself out of this loop because the election is going to be a farce,” Mr. Shafik said, adding that “they will fix everything for him” and “this is going to be a comedy show.”

His comments stunned Egypt because Mr. Shafik comes from the same military elite as Field Marshal Sisi. Questioning the field marshal’s candidacy is almost heretical in the pro-military and anti-Islamist circles both officers represent, and Mr. Shafik’s comments were a rare hint of possible dissent among the business and military elite. [Continue reading…]

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