Elections are funny things. Desirable in a world where you need the support of the masses. So malleable in the hands of the corrupt. And it is terribly hard to resist the urge to be corrupted sometimes.
This is a thought exercise – there are ways of stopping this, and all the pieces of what happens below from happening. It is not reality – but it will be unless something smart of done to prevent it from happening. And so, read on…
“Egypt will try to reduce the pressure on the country by:
- starting riots and violence that mixes up the protesters and counter-protestors so that the environment overall becomes violent
- this provides a plausible context for a crack-down, likely supported by both sides, and especially by the normal 90% of the population, many of whom protested at some point, but now just want to get back to having a normal life
- the focus then moves towards some election date, be it in September or earlier if the situation does actually accelerate (which it might do, and in many respects, probably should do to have a more positive outcome)
- the key activities will be to engineer the election to make it riggable – to decide the rules that, should you or a friend need some help that the people do not oblige to give, you can plausibly win the election, claim a mandate, and then mould the future the way you want
- develop a government of “national unity”, and dance with the opposition. Ideally pick weak members of the opposition, ideally some former well-known sports star, that the local press will talk about, and who will be happy getting the Minister of Playgrounds brief. Use this (as in Tunisia) to demonstrate that you really have incorporated the opposition.
- Be entirely two-faced to the people and the international community in the run up to any election. Say whatever is required to get voted, as you know that once you are in power you will follow the age old tactics of ignoring people, locking up dissidents, and threatening to kill them and their families (grandkids, parents, etc)
- Accuse the opposition of continuing to incite unrest during the run up to the election. Ideally at this time develop a parallel news structure that gets out your spin of the story before any one else, so you can have your own supporters throw rocks at the opposition – and police – and take photos of the police fighting your opposition. Simple.
- Target key voting areas with the most amount of seats for concerted action, planned over a few days, to drive votes and voters in the direction you want. This will give you the most return for your effort on the ground – most votes for least effort.
- Be very friendly with select International Election Monitors. I find it very disturbing that severe electoral fraud has not been picked up by supposedly respectable groups… and yet let’s get real, they missed out fraud big time. So, I am assuming that the best way to handle this is to be super-friendly with these folks. Maybe they have a country manager who likes girls, or bets on slow horses. I don’t know, but I’d be thinking “let’s corrupt these people and make them our friends”.
- On the day, I’d go for style and try to avoid any kind of skirmish, expect to create the fake opposition problems described above. No need to go for volume, as you’d try to make sure the cameras and reporters were at the only place where it occurs (because you planned it in advance).
- At the end of the day, declare the election ‘close’, and declare that you are happy the people have had a chance to speak fairly. Then tell people it will take you at least three weeks to count all of the votes, because you are in a poor country. Avoid telling the international press the truth, that you do not care what the vote is, because you have decided that 62% sounds like a good number for victory.
- Portray the opposition party leader as a crazy person who wants to subvert democracy when they complain that the vote has been stolen. Point to the number of supporters from his party who are saying that the election is true. For real professionalism, plant some friendlies in their party early, and promise them ‘stuff’ for their allegiance later. This is a lot less dangerous and time-wasting than threatening people after the fact.
- Drip feed out the election results, while you start telling the press about your new government, which will be ready as soon as the official vote is done. – Start being seen in public looking presidential, kissing babies, visiting schools, saying all kinds of things about the future.
- … taking a bit of a jump into the future…
- when everything calms down, do whatever you planned to do anyway, quietly, be it rape the country for its wealth (plan for that), kill dissidents (easy one), silence the press (assassinate a couple, the rest will learn their place), and implement whatever crazy schemes you have (3 times a week, all you can eat Dictator on TV?).
- Declare anyone in the opposition to be a terrorist – Work with the US and / or China on how important you are for some key commodity
- Start saving money in a friendly domicile
Just a rough start – many more things to add. Remember what I said at the start though – nothing is inevitable. Things can be stopped, reversed, redirected – if you know how to do it.