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Egypt Islamist lawmaker fired for nose job

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Al Arabiya published a file photo of Egyptian lawmaker Anwar el-Balkimy March 5, 2012. (Via New York Times)

It's the cover up, not the crime, that leads to downfall, observers of political scandals have long noted.

So learned newly elected Egyptian Islamist lawmaker Anwar el-Balkimy, who was unceremoniously booted from his ultra conservative political party Monday after it was revealed that he had undergone a nose job—and lied about it.

Balkimy had previously claimed that the bandages on his face covered injuries sustained in a vicious beating, the New York Times' David Kirkpatrick reports. But the doctors "at the private hospital where Balkimy" received his plastic surgery "spoke out against the brazenness of his lies," he writes.

The newly elected parliamentarian faced a quandary, however. Balkimy was—until Monday—a member of the ultra conservative Nour Party, whose Salafist adherents eschew plastic surgery among other indulgences of modern cultural life viewed as morally corrupting.

But his little white lie caused embarrassment to his conservative Islamist political allies, several of whom visited him in the hospital and ordered an investigation into the alleged beating. 

"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," Kirkpatrick writes.

"Politicians can't be expected to pick their nose and get away with it," quipped Jon Alterman, an Egypt expert who holds the new Zbigniew Brzezinski chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in an email Monday.

Now Balkimy can test another truism of political life: Who says there are no second acts?

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