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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

International coverage of the presidential elections

The elections continued to dominate international headlines on Egypt. The global media’s coverage of Egypt this morning was split between the election results being a foregone conclusion and monitoring measures taken to ensure a high turnout.

The Associated Press’ Maggie Michael says the polls open with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi a certain winner and that the authorities hope enough people will cast their ballots. The Washington Post and LA Times echo similar thoughts, while the AP separately notes that the vote is overshadowed by the “missing contenders,” and the FT describes the election as “a depressing spectacle.” Vox’s Alexia Underwood says that while Sisi will win, he needs to worry about the “rumblings of dissent” in Egypt. Meanwhile, the as-ever irrelevant Robert Fisk says in the Independent that El Sisi is set to win partly on the back of the Christian vote while expecting him to garner 93.73-97.37% of the vote.

Turnout is still the name of the game and will continue until the results are announced. The polls opened yesterday amid concerns over voter apathy, The Guardian’s Ruth Michaelson writes. “But amid concern that the personality campaign that inspired ‘Sisi-mania’ before the 2014 election is likely to be met with widespread voter apathy this time, the government has mounted a fierce campaign in an attempt to boost numbers at the polls. Turnout is seen as the only issue that will be in doubt in this election.” The Wall Street Journal is noting how regional governors are promising better services, from playgrounds to new sewage systems, if residents come out to vote. The governors of Beheira, El Wadi El Gedid, and Menoufia have all reportedly promised to do a better job if voters turned up. Bloomberg is reporting on the juice and meals offered to voters at polling stations.

Human rights are front and center: Euronews takes a look at what Sisi has “done with his first four years in office,” but DW takes a sharper stance, quoting Mainz University Professor Guenter Meyer saying El Sisi “is on the side of the autocratic rulers in the Arab world.” Similarly, the Atlantic is also noting the times which Egyptian authorities have prosecuted artists. Reuters reports that North Sinai residents have been too afraid to leave their homes to vote as a result of the ongoing military campaign.

Among the handful of non-election stories making headlines:

  • Bus transport service platform Swvl is using ride-hailing tech to help solve Egypt’s transportation issues, Forbes Middle East says.
  • Egypt and Israel have had a “cold peace” since the signing of a US-mediated peace treaty in 1979, says the Hill.
  • Renowned jeweller Azza Fahmy has opened a store in London as part of global expansion efforts, the Telegraph reports.
  • Egypt-born Anne Aly, the first Muslim woman elected to Australia’s federal parliament, talks to VOA Newsabout the way racism and domestic violence shaped her career.
  • Tough economic conditions are forcing Egyptians to “find work wherever they can” but many struggle to secure employment, according to TRTWorld.

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