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Egypt Radicalizing Through Ballots, as Historic Election Begins

Egypt's military leader calls on citizens to vote in Monday's elections, as protesters continue to demand his resignation.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/28/2011, 5:13 AM

Protest in Egypt
Protest in Egypt
Flash 90

Egypt is on the verge of radicalization by democratic means, on a historic election day Monday that will shape the Middle East in the years to come. 

Egypt’s army ruler on Sunday urged voters to turn out in force, for the country's first post-revolution election.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi called for a large turn-out and said he would not buckle in the face of demands for the army to stand down, AFP reported.

“I ask the Egyptian people to vote and to express themselves in order to have a balanced parliament that represents all sides,” Tantawi was quoted as having said in a statement.

He warned that “we are faced with enormous challenges and we will not allow any individual or party to pressure the armed forces.”

“Either succeed politically, economically and socially or face very dangerous consequences... and we will not let that happen,” he said.

Meanwhile, the renewed demonstrations that have hit Cairo in the past week continued on Sunday, with protesters demanding that Tantawi and his fellow generals resign immediately.

According to AFP, thousands gathered for a “million-man” rally to demand the end of military rule, though attendance was low by previous standards.

In an effort to resolve the crisis, said the report, Tantawi called a meeting with all political party leaders and future presidential candidates, but it was boycotted by several leading figures.

Presidential hopeful Selim al-Awwa said that it was agreed to form an advisory council to work alongside the government and the military council, but it was not immediately clear who would sit on the body.

The extremist Muslim Brotherhood is likely to win the first stage of the elections on Monday and, if that happens, the vehemently anti-Israel group is planning to cause Egypt to adopt an anti-American line and to support the Palestinian Authority (PA) in its terrorist war against Israel.

The Muslim Brotherhood party’s platform defines the “Palestinian problem” as “the most serious problem in terms of Egypt’s national security” because “the Zionist entity is racist, seeks to build settlements and expand, is aggressive, possesses weapons of mass destruction, has caused many wars in the region, influenced the geographical, political, social and economic situation and torpedoed plans for development.”

The group held a “kill the Jews” rally in Cairo on Friday, in which thousands of supporters promised to “one day kill all the Jews” and wage war against Jerusalem’s “Judaization.”

The demonstration was held on the anniversary of the United Nations’ proclamation of the 1947 partition plan that established the State of Israel and which was immediately followed by a pan-Arab war aimed at annihilating it.