Friday Prayers for Egypt: Election Turnout

Flag Cross Quran

God,

Help Egypt to know herself, and to know what she has done. When millions of people vote, this should be straightforward.

But how many millions? In one sense it doesn’t matter, as Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected with 97 percent of the vote. Spoiled ballots outpaced his only challenger.

With referendum-like numbers, however, turnout means everything. Some put the figure as low as 10 percent, but officially it reached 47. Local sparring exit polls are not always the most reliable, but during the contest the Egyptian media was in a frenzy over empty polling stations. Last minute decisions by the official election commission granted a national holiday for day two, and then decided to extend the vote to a third day.

If truly 47 percent, Sisi’s total is a respectable number, indicating widespread support. By contrast, Morsi’ election victory of Shafik in a highly contested race was only four percentage points higher.

If truly less, God, two scenarios are possible. First, a still popular Sisi had people fraudulently inflating his numbers to make up for an apathetic public. Second, his popularity itself is inflated, the people are not behind him, and perhaps are still behind Morsi.

But official numbers are official for a reason, and must be demonstrated false no matter the impression. The European Union’s observation team appears to validate the figure.

God, if there is fraud, expose it. Build Egypt on a solid foundation, that her house not collapse in the sand at the first onset of storm.

But if by contrast, God, you have exposed the fraud of the Brotherhood and rallied Egyptians around a better foundation, give confidence to the people and state to move forward together.

Either way, God, once he is inaugurated, bless President Sisi. May he be a wise and true man who governs well. Refine him, and may the people and state hold him accountable for all faults, preventing any to come. Help him to fulfill his charge.

And may he encourage the structuring of a system that builds institutional accountability, for a stronger foundation than that of any man.

To build well takes time, God, but it also takes skill and sincerity of intention. Give Egypt all that is necessary, and include in this blueprint a deep knowledge of where she stands.

For it is not just the turnout over one man’s candidacy, God, nor the hope millions have invested that he can put things right. It is still over the essential questions of identity, justice, and empowerment – which have plagued Egypt for years.

Unite Egypt around what is right and true, God. If uniting around Sisi is a first step, bless it and grant a second. If it is a false step, hold her footing that she may regroup. Either way, give peace and stability and discernment of spirit. Bless Egypt, her state, and all her people.

Amen.

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