Egypt Media Roundup – May 20, 2014

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Legal & Political Institutions

International observers of the upcoming elections are facing a dilemma: they risk appearing to support a regime that is widely regarded as undemocratic, or they could stay away and risk letting the marginalized voices go unheard. A frequent observer of Egyptian affairs, former president Carter expressed concern over Egypt’s faltering democratic transition, saying, “Egypt’s next president should take immediate steps to foster dialogue and political accommodation to ensure the full spectrum of Egyptian society can participate meaningfully in politics.” [LA TimesRead More..

Marginalized Groups

The Zabbaleen, or informal garbage collection groups in Egypt, have been in a vulnerable position since 2011, which is only getting worse as the economic conditions in Egypt worsen. The Zabbaleen have decided to back Sisi for president in the hope that conditions will improve. One individual said: “The economy is broken and the security situation is bad,” he said. “That’s why we need order in Egypt, a strong leader.” [The National]

Rights & Freedoms

An Alexandria court upheld a verdict that sentenced a group of activists to two years in prison who were arrested in December for organizing an illegal protest, blocking a road, and destroying a police vehicle. The group includes well-known activists Mahienour El-masry, Loai Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, Omar Abdel-Aziz Hussein, Islam Mohamed Ahmed, Nasser Abul-Hamed Ibrahim, Hassan Mostafa, Moussa Hussein, and Hassan El-Siyad. [AhramRead More..

Security Sector

Due to the recent violence in Libya’s capitol city of Tripoli and Benghazi and ongoing unrest in the country, Egypt has suspended travel to and from Libya–EgyptAir suspended flights until 25 May, and have been closely monitoring the situation for Egyptians living in Libya. [Ahram, All Africa, Daily News EgyptRead More..


In an effort to tackle unemployment in Egypt, the army has flexed its “economic muscle” by announcing a vocational program to train 100,000 youth in skills needed by industry, which, according to Reuters, “shows the army’s readiness to back government and its evolving role in shaping domestic policy.” [Reuters]

Foreign Relations

Although the United States plans to resume some military aid to Egypt, according to Reuters it appears unlikely that the two countries will restore the close ties that they had over the past decades due to persistent concerns over the authoritarian crackdown on human rights since the military-takeover last summer. “Washington’s caution reflects a desire to help Egypt nip a mounting insurgency in the bud without being seen as sanctioning the interim government’s repression of political opponents and the media.” [Daily Sabah, Reuters

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Legal & Political Institutions

 Interim-President Mansour decrees a salary raise for his successor from LE12,000 per month to LE42,000 

Al Arabiya: Decree gives Egypt’s next president salary hike

Ahram:Salary of Egyptian president to increase to LE42,000

In this article: The Egyptian interim president Adly Mansour decreed that his successor will be receiving a monthly salary of approximately LE42,000, thereby amending a 1987 law that allocates LE12,000 to the president.

 Canadian-Egyptian expat voters divided over presidential candidates 

Globe & Mail: Canadian Egyptians divided over vote in Egypt’s presidential election

In this article: Approximately 5,000 Canadians voted during the expat voting period for the Egyptian presidential elections in Ottawa and Montreal. The Canadians found themselves largely divided over social issues including anger over candidate Sisi’s role in deposing former president Morsi, and other human rights abuses committed by the state since Morsi’s ouster. However, many supported Sisi as well, believing he is the best candidate for the position.

 Ahram: El-Sisi Campaign predicts sweeping victory in Saudi vote

Daily News Egypt: Early indication of Al-Sisi landslide in expat vote

Egyptian Streets: Egypt’s Sisi dominates elections abroad with 93% victory

Ahram: El-Sisi Campaign predicts 96% of expat vote in Kuwait

In this article: The early, preliminary results from polling stations worldwide, totalling 113 stations, indicate that presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al Sisi has claimed a “landslide” victory over his opponent Hamdeen Sabahi. The preliminary results show that Sisi won 92.5% of the vote overall, while Sabahi received 5.98% and 1.5% of the votes were invalid. Reports from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia show that their expat voters gave Sisi 96% and 93% respectively. The total number of voters abroad was estimated to be 315,000 according to the foreign ministry.

 AFTE: Sisi’s decision to withhold electoral program violates transparency of democratic elections 

Daily News Egypt: Al-Sisi condemned for withholding his platform

In this article: Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al Sisi has decided to withhold his electoral program due to “national security concerns”–a decision which has been widely criticized by various groups as a “sign of the continuation of an administration not subject to observation or accountability.” The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression asserted that the elections should operate in an atmosphere of transparency and that national security should not be used as a “scare tactic” by decision makers and “summoned without clear criteria.”

Security Sector

 Defense minister: Any attempt to affect the free will of Egyptians will be “strongly confronted” 

Egypt SIS: Defense Minister: Army is Egypt’s protective shield

In this article: The Egyptian Minister of Defense has affirmed that the army is capable of “securing the presidential elections in cooperation with the police, “ calling, also, the army Egypt’s ‘protective shield’ as the Egyptian people will demonstrate to the world the “will of the Egyptian people, which was protected by the Army” and that Egyptians are free to express their will, but any attempt to affect the will, will be “strongly confronted.”

 3 Policemen killed at Al Azhar University in a drive-by shooting 

LA Times: Egyptian police killed in violence ahead of presidential election

In this article: Three policemen were killed near Al Azhar University by unidentified drive-by shooters. The campus has witnessed frequent violence since former president Morsi’s ouster last year, and the shootings were a likely precursor to nationwide voting since the likely winner of the elections is former army head, Abdel Fattah al Sisi, who led Morsi’s ouster.

 Clashes between student protesters and security forces at Cairo University result in death of one student 

Daily News Egypt: Clashes at Cairo University leave one student dead

In this article: Clashes between student protesters and security forces resulted in the death of one student, Islam Ghanem, who was recovering from a previous injury inflicted by security forces during protests last term. The General leading the Central Security Forces outside Cairo University claimed that the protesters were allowed to protest “even off campus” and clashes started when the students returned to campus and used fireworks against the security forces based outside.

 Muslim Brotherhood may face a test of power leading up to the presidential elections 

New Republic: The Muslim Brotherhood Thinks It’s Winning Again

Aswat Masriya: Brotherhood’s power to be tested in coming presidential elections

In this article: The Muslim Brotherhood, which is now a terrorist organization in Egypt and is barred from participating in elections, will be boycotting voting in presidential elections. One of the leading members of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy claims that the goup has not yet planned demonstrations on polling days, which will take place on 26-27 May. The group claims they have no political or ideological incentive to vote, especially considering the heavy crackdown they have experienced since the military crackdown started last summer. A representative of the group explained that, “the alliance will not recognize the result of the vote and that they will continue to call for peaceful demonstrations to denounce what Mursi supporters view as a military coup against the legitimate president.” 

Rights & Freedoms

 Anti-Sisi group ‘Against You’ holds march and public debate 

Ahram: ‘Against You’ campaign marches against El-Sisi’s candidacy

In this article: The ‘Against You’ (Dedak in arabic) campaign has held a march in opposition to Sisi’s presidential candidacy. The march, which was small, “began with fierce verbal altercations’ and resulted in an open debate surrounding Sisi’s candidacy. The group’s purpose, according to April 6 Democratic Front activist Sherif el Rouby was not to encourage voters to vote for Sabahi, he says, “We know that the official position of some groups participating in Deddak is to support Sabahi, but our purpose is simply to expose the actions of El-Sisi and discourage citizens from voting for him.” The Dedak campaign was officially formed on 17 May and includes revolutionary groups such as the Revolutionary Socialists, April 6’s Youth Movement and Democratic Front and the Revolutionary Path Front.