Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime as a result of the January 25th Revolution, large sums of money from outside Egypt as well as from unknown sources within have been given to organizations to influence the future direction during this transitional period.
The previous prime minister, Isam Sharef, has recognized such illegal transactions and promised to investigate the matter. He turned over the recipients to the courts for prosecution for violating Egyptian law. (al wafd, 8/16/2011).
According to Mr. Sharef, there are more than 24,000 civil organizations that are licensed, in addition to another more than 5,000 organizations operating illegally. Also, there are foreign organizations operating in Egypt that might threaten the national security of Egypt.
The Ministry of Justice announced the formation of a committee to investigate and reveal the names of organizations that accept illegal money on July 27th, 2011. These organizations are supposed to be prosecuted.
The “U.S. AID” has informed the Egyptian government that they have contributed $165 million to organizations that will work to support “democracy”. The money given helped some of the recipient organizations to become organized political parties.
Political money, especially when given by foreign governments or organizations, reflects an act of direct interference in the internal political affairs of Egypt. The U.S. government is not the only one to commit such illegal acts. Secret reports revealed that several Arab governments from the Gulf region have sent many millions of dollars to various Islamic organizations with the objective of influencing the direction of public voting during the parliamentary election.
The use of political money to buy or influence individual voting has been a common method used by the previous regime to ensure the victory of the government party (National Democratic Party). The usage of political money is a common political strategy used by authoritarian Arab regimes during the past 4 -5 decades.
Unfortunately, there were already official complaints of the usage of political money by several Islamic organizations that have influenced the voting results during the first stage of election that took place in early November 2011.
Different political tactics have been used in violation of the law, such as paying cash money in advance to people for their vote, or gifts in the form of food that were given to people in poor neighborhoods. Also, religious slogans were used to tell the public that those who cast their votes to secular political parties are committing religious violations.
The result of the first stage of voting led to an impressive political victory to Muslim political parties, especially the Freedom and Justice party, which is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The second winner, which took the public by surprise, is the Noor Party, a very conservative Salafi Islamic group.
There is no doubt in my mind that Saudi political money played an influential role in their election. In addition, other gulf states’ contributions also have the objective of electing conservative Islamic religious parties, which will not have a negative impact on the future of their regimes. From their point of view, secular government in Egypt will lead to the development of democratic institutions and will have an impact on their regimes. Egypt is the heart of the Arab world and the most influential state. The political model that will emerge after the election will have an impact on the rest of the Arab states. The judicial higher committee in charge of the election stated that some of the violations that took place during the first stage of the election will be prevented during the second and third stages, which will take place in December 2011 and January 2012.
Let us hope that political policies that contribute to a democratic transition will be implemented.