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Monday, 29 January 2018

Presidential elections continue to top talking heads’ agendas

With the deadline for presidential candidates to officially enter the race just hours away, the walking dead continued to be largely preoccupied with the election process, with only a couple of business-relevant topics breaking the monotony.

For that, we turn to Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi, who spoke on the passing of the Bankruptcy Act with Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Secretary-General Alaa Ezz (we have a full wrap-up of legislative developments in Speed Round, below). Ezz said that the act is probably more important than the Investment Act because it provides a safety net for investors if their companies flop, which will help to spur investment. He noted that the legislation was necessary due to Egypt’s lackluster performance in global indices measuring the ease with which an investor can exit the market.

Separately, Ezz told Lamees that more than 500 investors will be flocking to Egypt at the end of the week for the Egypt Investment Forum (watch, runtime 1:30).

Lamees spent the remainder of her evening fixated on the possibility of a last-minute entry to the presidential race. Al Ghad Party deputy head Mahmoud Moussa said that the party is still deliberating whether or not to field party head Moussa Mahmoud Moussa as its candidate, but reassured Lamees that Moussa has all the necessary paperwork including the medical check-up ready for submission (watch, runtime 2:09).

Democratic Peace Party head Ahmed El Fadaly, meanwhile, said his party is pushing him into the race and is in the process of preparing the documents for submission, but has yet to reach a final decision. The party managed to scrape together endorsements from the 51 independent MPs in hopes of ensuring the elections are not a one-man show (watch, runtime 6:30).

Spurred by Lamees’ rare criticism of the government the night before for silencing the opposition, parliament spokesperson Salah Hasaballah phoned in specifically to reaffirm that all citizens are welcome to run for the top job provided they meet constitutional and legal requirements. Hasaballah also denied that MPs were directed to sign endorsements for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi (watch, runtime 3:43).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib lambasted the statement from political figures calling for a boycott of the presidential poll, claiming that doing so would be tantamount to destroying the country. Never one to be moderate with his rhetoric, he likened the consequences of a boycott to the chaos that ensued after the 2011 uprising (watch, runtime 8:55).

The Dostour Party is forming a political bloc along with seven other parties that will be dubbed “the democratic current,” party head Khaled Dawood told Adib. The bloc will hold a presser tomorrow to announce its position on the elections, which Dawood said will be worse than those under former president Hosni Mubarak’s rule if they are not pluralistic (watch, runtime 7:27).

Conservative Party head Akmal Kortam also phoned in to deny that he will be contesting the elections, dashing Adib’s hopes that he had found a last-minute candidate to run against El Sisi (watch, runtime 5:16).

Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, Tamer Amin sat down with Banque Misr Chairman Mohamed El Etreby to talk about lending for SMEs and yout-led companies, which we’re very sick and tired of hearing referred to as “projects” in either language. El Etreby recounted the main perks of the CBE’s SMEs lending initiative, including lower interest rates geared towards supporting local projects (watch, runtime 29:00).

Amin also spoke to Ittihadiya spokesman Bassam Rady about President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting with Sudan’s Omar Al Bashir on Saturday, which he described as “brotherly” and “fruitful.” Rady stressed that Cairo and Khartoum continue to enjoy strong ties despite their differences (watch, runtime 4:30).

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