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Monday, 29 January 2018

Planned presidential elections getting negative coverage from the international press

The upcoming presidential elections are “increasingly taking on the character of the one-candidate referendums held for decades” in Egypt, Bureau Chief Hamza Hendawi writes for The Associated Press. “The overwhelmingly pro-[President Abdel Fattah El Sisi] media depict him as the only figure able to solve Egypt’s problems, and the president himself often says the need to rebuild the country outweighs concerns over democracy and rights. A significant sector of the population likely agrees with the argument — though how much is unknown, since authorities prevent most polling and have outlawed all unauthorized protests,” Hendawi writes.

Chatham House’s MENA Deputy Head Jane Kinninmont also gave her two cents on the upcoming poll, adding that attention now will turn to whether El Sisi “will seek to overturn the term limits, or groom a pliable successor… Regionally, Sisi is likely to be focused on the issues closest to Egypt’s own security: the situation in neighbouring Libya and in Gaza, where Egypt has been an important broker between Fatah and Hamas.”

…Elsewhere, Sawsan Gad says the military is controlling which “personnel can exercise their constitutional right to political participation,” in the Carnegie Endowment for National Peace.

Egypt has an advantage over Israel and Cyprus in exporting natural gas to Europe because its export plan may be more commercially viable, and not because of reduced political risk, industry insider Charles Ellinas writes for Cyprus Mail. Israel’s hopes of exporting gas from its Leviathan field are unlikely to materialize, since “adding the cost of pipelines, liquefaction, and transport to Europe would always take the price above the European price range … Similar problems apply to Cyprus and export of Aphrodite gas. The primary challenge is still commercial viability. That’s why so far Noble [Energy’s] efforts to secure gas sales have not succeeded, including through the Egyptian route despite the political good-will.” Egypt, on the other hand, is well on its way to self-sufficiency and would be able to export its surplus gas through existing infrastructure.

Also worth a quick skim today:

  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has pardoned British citizen Laura Plummer, who was jailed for smuggling meds into Egypt, The National reports.

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