Schrattenkalk in Kairo

It seems the Egyptian elections are going to be entertaining –at least when looking at the election symbols! I proudly present the “Flowerpower Spaceship” and the “Toothbrush” candidates.

Update… more symbols below!


Fascinating isn’t it? I was told it’s because parties running in the elections are afraid nobody will remember their name/logo (since most of them were formed only after the toppling of Mubarak). So when people go to vote on 28 Nov they will find on their voting card the more recognisable logo next to the party/independent candidate they intend to vote for.

I’m also collecting photos of these logos to post them on, do you mind if I add these two logos to my own post? (and credit you of course)

by at 15/11/11 19:52

Election symbols are usually used in countries (I presonally have seen them during elections in Liberia and in Sudan) where people can not read and write. The election symbols in theory have a number of advantages:

1) If candidates are not part of a party, they still have an election symbol.

2) Many people do not really know how the candidates look like, therefore photos do not help as much.

3) Especially on long lists with more than 50 different choices photos or party symbols can look very similar to eachother.

4) Election symbols are created to deal with low quality printing, which is often a necessity in case of ballot papers.

5) Election symbols are easily describable. You can tell a voter who can not read and write that he should vote for “the bycicle” or “the hand”.

The problem of course is, that specific symbols actually carry certain values and connotations with them and therefore having a specific symbol might be an advantage, such as having the moon as symbol in predominantly Muslim countries.

The second problem, is when you need too many symbols and then you end up with weird choices and I think this is what is happening in Egypt. My Arabic isn’t good enough, but I would be curious if candidates are trying to use their symbol as part of their slogans at rallies. Such as the guy with the toothbrush, is he making a connection to a clean Egypt or cleaning Egypt of corruption. The party with the space ship, do they refer to progress. I saw a guy with a baby stroller, I wonder if he underlines family values. And what the hell do you do if you end up with a radio or a ladder?

by admin at 16/11/11 16:46

[...] minds will tend to make a certain link between each candidate and his symbol, or as Moritz puts it here: The problem of course is, that specific symbols actually carry certain values and connotations [...]

by Egypt: Election Symbols · Global Voices at 19/11/11 11:09

While working on my thesis I came across this bit on the 1958 elecitons in South Sudan:

For candidates, the poll also retained its unpredictability because of the uncertainties created by the (necessary) use of symbols. Bulls, huts, trees, crocodiles, and so on, often had symbolic associations for both good and evil and several candidates in this, and later, elections have observed that their chances have been enhanced or diminished by the symbol allocated to them and the use made of symbols by candidates to gain support or to damage their opponent’s chances.

Howell (1978), p. 161

by admin at 27/11/11 15:33

[...] بغض النظر عن ذلك، سيميل عقلنا إلى ربط المرشح بالرمز الخاص به، كما يكتب مورتيز هنا: [...]

by مصر: السؤال حول رموز الانتخابات · Global Voices الأصوات العالمية at 03/01/12 13:06

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