The elections in Egypt are scheduled to be held on Wednesday, but the ballot box for Egyptian citizens living in Israel already opened. The results? The overwhelming majority of Egyptians living in Israel voted for Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister to serve under former president Hosni Mubarak.
The Al-Yom A-Saba newspaper reported on Saturday that Shafik received 49 votes, which were tallied in the Egyptian embassy. Hamdeen Sabahi received four votes, and the rest of the candidates even fewer.
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Amr Moussa, one of the leading candidates for the presidency, didn't win a single vote among Egyptians in Israel.
Shukri Shazali, 51, head of the Egyptian community in Israel, tried to explain the results to Ynet. "Shafik is a modern person," he said. "He was the civil aviation minister in Mubarak's time and is basically a good person. As minister, he made a lot of changes. He's good at management, and Egypt needs someone to manage it properly."
Political mural: Candidates are puppets in the hands of the army. (Photo: Reuters)
However, Shazali acknowledges that Shafik's victory among voters in Israel would not be reflected in the actual election results. "He won't win because he's seen as someone from the old Mubarak regime. He's not lucky," Shazali says.
Shazali himself is a supporter of Sabahi, "because I want a non-religious country. I want a democratic country and a democratic government. The worst thing is to vote for Mohammed Morsy from the Muslim Brotherhood. In this sense, Aboul Fotouh is the least bad option; he's more advanced that Morsy."
Some 5,000 Egyptians live in Israel. Most of them are here through marriage, and a small minority claims to have fled the Mubarak regime. Most of the Egyptians in Israel live in Nazareth. Despite the community's large numbers, only a small percentage actually have the right to vote in Egypt, which is reserved only for those citizens who have identity cards issued after the fall of Mubarak.
Shazali, who has lived in Israel for more than 10 years and is married to an Israeli woman, cannot vote, but he joined friends on the way to the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv. "I tried to talk with someone at the embassy to see if they could help, but I was told that nothing could be done," he said.
Nevertheless, he says he is "very happy" about the elections. "I feel that finally Egypt is moving in a good direction. I – and other Egyptians here in Israel – suffered a lot under Mubarak and his security establishment," he recalls.
But Shazali is also worried – "my fear is that the president won't be able to control the army… but I believe it will be all right in the end," he says.