Elections began in Egypt this week as mass demonstrations against the military regime clash daily with security forces in Cairo and every major city.
Protesters are demanding that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) stands down. At least 42 people have been killed and 2,000 injured as state security forces try to repress the protests.
The generals have appointed Kamal Ganzouri as the new prime minister. But Ganzouri is not new. He served under the dictator Hosni Mubarak for 18 years and was prime minister between 1996 and 1999.
News of Ganzouri’s appointment was greeted with shouts of “illegitimate” by the crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Field Marshal Mohammed Hussain Tantawi, the Scaf leader, said last week he would bring forward the handover of power to a civilian government to July 2012. But protesters want Tantawi out now.
The elections, which will take place over three months, were meant to herald a new era of democracy. But many independent candidates have stood down in protest at the latest clampdown.
Wassim Wagdy in Cairo told Socialist Worker, “People are determined to vote. But these elections are not like South Africa, there is no jubilation.
“Any new parliament will be born in a crisis of legitimacy, because the generals are digging in. This is not genuine democracy.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, which has not taken part in the recent protests, is set to be the main beneficiary in the election.
But much depends on whether calls for the workers to mobilise solidarity get a response.
This is a life and death struggle. But still people come out armed only with gas masks and rocks to ensure the revolution fulfils the aspirations of millions of Egyptians.