Speed Reads


John Oliver uses Egypt to explain how not to stage a 'sham election'

Egypt held presidential elections last week, and while the results haven't been officially tabulated, the winner is strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, John Oliver not-so-boldly predicted on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "And the reason I know that he's the winner is that he had no serious opponents, possibly because one was arrested and three more withdrew amid reports of intimidation." Still, el-Sisi's ridiculous claim that he was devastated by the lack of competition had a grain of truth, Oliver said. "The tricky thing is, if you're going to have something that even looks like an election, you badly need at least the appearance of an opponent. And he did get one of those — kind of."

Mousa Moustafa Mousa, an open el-Sisi supporter, registered to run against him 15 minutes before the deadline, and up until his nomination he had el-Sisi's campaign banner on his Facebook page. "But the key rule of a sham election is make it look legitimate," and el-Sisi's projected 92 percent of the vote was further undermined by the low turnout, Oliver said, despite "a desperate attempt to make it look legitimate" by election officials threatening $28 fines for people who didn't vote and open bribes by government supporters. "Wow, $5 and discount tickets to an amusement park?" he said. "Say what you like about el-Sisi — and if you live in Egypt, you can't — but it is pretty depressing that seven years after the Arab Spring, he's now trying to win over the voters the same way a divorced dad tries to win over his kids." Watch below. Peter Weber