Egyptian televisions were saying this evening that Egypt's nominee to replace Amr Moussa at the head of the Arab League is former member of parliament and ruling party 'intellectual' Mustafa el-Fiki. Assuming this is true, it is the most extraordinary choice. Fiki will go down in history as the beneficiary of one of the most outrageous acts of electoral fraud committed in the parliamentarian elections of 2005. After serving in parliament as a member appointed by President Mubarak, the NDP gave him the Damanhour (Beheira province) seat in 2005, on the assumption he would win. In the event, rival candidate Gamal Hishmat of the Muslim Brotherhood won by a margin of about 25,000 votes. No problem: the election officers merely reversed the tallies, giving Fiki all Hishmat's votes and Hishmat all Fiki's votes. The snag was that one of the judges overseeing the count, the brave Noha el-Zeini, went public with a detailed account of what happened. Fiki just brazened it out, as is his style -- essentially a shameless egotist with no obvious priniciples. Since the revolution, he's been posing as an impartial analyst and public intellectual. Come to think of it, maybe he would be good at the Arab League - he could be all things to all men and curry favour with every Arab head of state simultaneously. Does anyone out there know who exactly chose him and on what grounds? Will the Arab states approve such a controversial choice? Maybe here's a chance for a non-Egyptian to jump in and end the long Egyptian monopoly of the position (broken only when the league moved to Tunis after the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, as far as I recall).