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Monday, 2 April 2018

Punditocracy was in overdrive over the election turnouts and spoiled ballots

The punditocracy has been in overdrive in past few days over turnout rates and the number of spoiled ballots in the presidential elections. Al Shorouk’s Emad El Din Hussein says that while overall turnout was quite impressive considering the lack of competition, it’s not hard to see why it would be disappointing for the government given its rallying efforts. Abbas El Tarabily and Amr Hashim Rabie both took to the pages of Al Masry Al Youm to hypothesize that it was exactly these rallying efforts (particularly the threat of a EGP 500 fine for no-shows) that helped turnout rates. They point out that the government should nonetheless take heed of the high number of invalidated ballots as an indicator of voter dissatisfaction. Hamdy Rizk, however, sees the spoiled ballots as a sign that calls to boycott were ineffective. In any case, El Watan’s Amina Khairy says that political parties should begin working from now to prepare candidates for the 2022 elections to avoid a repetition of this year’s lack of competition.

Meanwhile, Abdel Nasser Salama took aim at the state’s handling of the elections’ media coverage, specifically the Supreme Media Council’s decision to penalize Al Masry Al Youm for a controversial headline. Salama slams the move as the culmination of the council’s outdated policy of trying to control the press and force private outlets to mimic state-owned newspapers, saying that AMAY should not be punished for telling the truth rather than twisting the facts to paint a prettier picture.

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