The Obama administration spent some $200 million on democracy building in the lead-up to the elections this week in Egypt.
But with 65 percent of the vote going to Islamist candidates, it doesn’t appear the money was well spent.
Stephen McInerney, executive director of the Project on Middle East Democracy, told Campaigns & Elections magazine
that $65 million went to Egypt after the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and an additional $100 million was earmarked for economic development but also to train Egypt’s nascent political parties.
The money is going through the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.
A Washington-based consultant who works with USAID and the State Department says the focus of the aid to Egypt has been on helping the smaller political parties that are competing against the better organized Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s party.
This week saw the first round of Parliamentary elections, with voting in nine of the country’s 27 provinces. The staggered elections will continue over the coming months. The Freedom and Justice Party won 40 percent of the vote on Wednesday, with an additional 15 percent going to the Salafis, a group of hard-line Islamists who reject the right of women to vote.
“Poorly organized and internally divided, the liberal parties could not compete with Islamists disciplined by decades as the sole opposition to Mr. Mubarak,” the New York Times reported.
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