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News Tip: Despite Uncertainties, 'Democracy is at Work' in Egypt
Assistant professor of the practice, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies; Arabic professor, Duke Islamic Studies Center (DISC), Duke University.
Lo's research interests include the sociology of Islam and theories of civil society. Currently in Cairo, he is serving his fifth consecutive year as faculty director for the DukeEngage Egypt student civic engagement program.
"The two surviving candidates in the presidential poll seem to come from two extremes, with no middle way.
"Will Gen. Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak's minister of civil aviation and prime minister during his last month in office, bring back the dark years of Mubarak, if elected? Is it risky to choose the Muslim Brotherhood candidate and top vote-getter, Mohammed Morsi, an American-educated former engineering professor who has no apparent executive experience or expertise in the public sector?
"No matter how we attempt to decipher the trajectory of Egyptian politics, it must be noted that the level of violence has remained consistently low. Reported incidences of death due to political violence number less than 2,000 in a country of roughly 90 million people. This is amazing when you consider that a 30-year-old regime collapsed, two major national elections were held in less than 12 months and millions of people have been protesting on a weekly basis throughout this country for the past 16 months.
"No one knows what the coming nights will bring, but we must acknowledge that democracy is at work."
Associate professor of public policy, Sanford School of Public Policy; associate professor of political science, Duke University.
Kelley is the author of "Monitoring Democracy: When International Election Observation Works, and Why It Often Fails (Princeton University Press, 2012). She studied the operations of election monitoring organizations in 1,324 national-level elections worldwide over a 30-year period to assess when and how they can be effective.
"Countries like Egypt with little to no experience with multiparty politics initially struggle to figure out how to unite the opposition effectively. This led to the fracture of the revolutionary parties which, despite their significant backing in the population, are now left without a candidate in the runoff.
"The accusations of fraud in the election will be difficult to assess. The Carter Center clearly wanted to be at this important election, but unfortunately Egypt's electoral authorities so restricted the center's observation mission that it has been left with more questions than answers. The Carter Center will have a hard time making a clear statement that the authorities cannot misconstrue."