Letter: A land wihout Pharaohs

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IN HIS profile of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, ("Return of the Pharaoh", 3 December), Robert Fisk jumps to conclusions and hasty judgments after the first round of the Egyptian elections in which less than one-third of the parliament has been elected; two-thirds of members are still to be elected in the second round.

The results of the first round indicate that a number of ministers have failed to be elected and have to run for a second round. One is the minister of supplies, one of the most popular members of the Egyptian government. Moreover, the brother of the prime minister was defeated in the first round.

The propounder vote for the National Democratic Party in the first round is a vote of confidence in the leadership of President Mubarak. For the last three years, Egyptians have suffered as a result of actions perpetrated by both extremists and fanatics. This is the first opportunity they have had to say "no" to extremism and in that regard it was an important test.

Mr Fisk is casting a shadow on democracy in Egypt: 14 parties contested this election and I am sure some of these parties will make it to the second round and hope to succeed. If they were dissatisfied and believed that the results were rigged, they would have chosen not to compete. How many other countries in the world have 14 parties contesting elections, each with its own newspaper?

Is it fair to call the president of such a country a Pharaoh? I leave it to your readers.

Ahmed Al-Ibrashy

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt, London W1

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