It is dismaying that so little international pressure is being exerted on President Mubarak to hold free and fair elections as Egypt heads into a year of important votes. Parliamentary elections will be held in the autumn of 2010 and Presidential elections in 2011. But, as the Shoura Council elections a few weeks ago emphasised, the elections will very, very likely not be open or fair (Mubarak’s party won 74 of 88 seats for the Shoura Council).
It’s hard to see how things will change unless the US takes a firm stand (the US is Egypt’s most important ally and source of $1.3 billion in annual military aid). But wherever the pressure comes from — internally or externally — the people of Egypt will never have the government they truly want (whether Muslim Brotherhood or another type) unless they are given free access to the polls.