Voters in Egypt go to the polls today and tomorrow to choose a president in the final runoff between the Muslim brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, a former Air Force commander and the final prime minister of former president Hosni Mubarak, in what is seen as a Hobson’s choice between Islamism and the military. Since the Supreme Constitutional Court disbanded the parliament, and Egypt hasn’t even written a new constitution, though, we have no idea whether the new president has real power or will be a figurehead!
Voters in France go to the polls for the second time in two weeks for the second round of parliamentary elections, which are expected to confirm a governing majority for newly elected Parti socialiste president François Hollande. One open question is whether Hollande’s party (and their allies) will win the 289 seats necessary to govern without forming a coalition with the greens and/or communists. Controversial individual contests also see Hollande’s former partner Ségolène Royal, far-right Front national leader Marine Le Pen and centrist François Bayrou fighting hard for seats in France’s national assembly.
Finally, voters return to the polls in Greece after no party emerged in May elections with enough support to form a governing coalition. Far-left SYRIZA, led by the brash, youthful Alexis Tsipras, is expected to vie with center-right New Democracy for the lead in what will still likely be a fragmented result. Most of the Hellenic parliament’s seats are awarded on the basis of proportional representation for all parties that receive over 3% of the vote, while the top party receives a ‘bonus’ of 50 seats. The leading party seems likely to form a governing coalition.