other countries' embarrassments

Nose-Job Scandal Sinks Egyptian Politician

A picture shows the Sphynx near the pyramids in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, on November 30, 2010.
Photo: PAtrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

Forty days into the new Egyptian Parliament, a lawmaker has already been expelled because of an ego-based disgrace. Anwar el-Balkimy, a representative of the ultraconservative religious right, claimed he was violently mugged, requiring facial surgery, but doctors say he was just getting a nose job:


Vain, self-aggrandizing and hypocritical politicians are, of course, as old as politics, even in Egypt. But for their foibles to blossom into public scandal requires conditions that are still a novelty here and elsewhere in the Arab world: lawmakers who win competitive elections with promises to honor their constituents, informants unafraid of extra-legal retribution from the powerful and a free press eager to expose the circus.

Nader Bakar, a spokesman for the Nour Party, said that in expelling Mr. Balkimy the party was establishing the principle of accountability, requiring public officials whose wrongdoing interferes with their duties to apologize and bear the responsibility — something he said was common around the world but still new in Egypt.

Nose-Job Scandal Sinks Egyptian Politician