Symbol of Egyptian counter-revolution wins seat in parliament

Symbol of Egyptian counter-revolution wins seat in parliament
A TV host has decisively won a seat in parliament and said he will run for speaker of the chamber, causing much ridicule on social media.
3 min read
04 December, 2015
Okasha has long been ridiculed by supporters of the 2011 revolution [Getty]

A controversial TV anchor and ardent critic of the 2011 revolution has announced he will run for speaker of parliament after preliminary election results indicate he has won a landslide victory in a rural constituency.

Tawfiq Okasha said on Wednesday he is eyeing the role of speaker of the parliament after beating his nearest competitor by over 20,000 votes in the towns of the Talkha and Nabarouh in the Delta province of Daqahlia, north of Cairo.

       Okasha made the announcement on his TV channel [Faraeen]

"The vote gap gives me the confidence to say that I will compete in elections for the speaker of parliament," Okasha said during an interview on al-Faraeen TV, which he owns.

"I've won here in Talkha and Nabarouh, but of course the final results have not yet been declared," he added in a victory rally with his supporters.

"From now on I will have to live as a servant to the soles of the shoes of the Egyptian people, firstly here in Talkha and Nabarouh and then secondly to Egypt," he said while wearing traditional Egyptian clothing.

Okasha has long been popular subject ridicule by supporters of the 2011 revolution, and a symbol of Egyptian right-wing fringe politics and unconditional support for military rule.

"This is a clear sign that none of the January 25 revolutionaries understand how to run an election campaign and how to connect with ordinary Egyptians," politcal activist and public policy graduate Abd al-Rahman al-Hennawi told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

"Although these elections are meaningless, Okasha's win shows his shrewdness and ability to win over the masses, whether we like it or not," Hennawi added.

On Tuesday, Egyptians voted in the final round of polling in nearly half of the country, including in the capital of Cairo.

The balloting was for Egypt's first legislature since a chamber dominated by Islamists was dissolved by a court ruling in 2012, polling centres during the vote have been largely empty, reflecting widespread apathy and disenchantment.

Preliminary results show a big win for a pro-government electoral coalition of businessmen and Mubarak-era politicians, making the likelihood of a rubber stamp parliament almost certain.

Final results will be announced later on 3 December and parliament is to hold its inaugural session later in December.

Okasha's bid for speaker of parliament has triggered a wave of ridicule on social media, with his critics launching the satirical Arabic-language hashtag #OkashaForSpeaker.

"I've heard that TV channels have begun bidding for the rights to broadcast session of parliament. This is going to be more fun to watch than the theatre," said one satirical Twitter user.

Mohamed Mahmoud tweeted: "Okasha is the right man for the job because he speaks perfectly for our times. We are living in dark days."