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Sunday, 3 June 2018

El Sisi sworn in for second term in office, highlights new health and education systems, fight against terror as priorities

El Sisi sworn in for second term in office, highlights new health and education systems, fight against terror as priorities: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi vowed in front of the House of Representatives to focus during his second term on building Egypt’s human capital through the new healthcare and education systems that will be introduced in the coming months. Fighting terrorism is also at the top of his agenda, he said, according to an Ittihadiya statement. His administration is also focusing on Egypt’s external affairs by working on cultivating “balanced” ties with allies while ensuring that none interferes in Egypt’s internal affairs, El Sisi said in a speech after being sworn in.

El Sisi’s swearing in tops coverage of Egypt in the international press this morning. Most drew a line between his inauguration and (a) a wave of arrests targeting activists and (b) popular resentment of rising prices. “The persistently high cost of everything from food to transport is fueling resentment among ordinary Egyptians, though they have few outlets to express their frustration. But the depth of the discontent is hard to gauge, since protests are limited and there is no polling,” Jared Malsin and Amira El Fekki write for WSJ.

How they’re spinning it: El Sisi vowed in his address yesterday to include all Egyptians in the path towards development “except those who chose violence, terrorism and extremist thought as a way to impose their will,” Reuters reports. Authorities have arrested several activists and opponents of the regime over the past several weeks, the Washington Post notes. The newspaper’s editorial board launched a broadside against El Sisi for the arrests, which it says is evidence of the president’s “weakness.” The arrest of blogger Wael Abbas in particular is worth noting as evidence that social media does not provide a safe space for free expression, the Hill’s David A. Super says. Super points as evidence to Twitter shutting down Abbas’ account after Egyptian authorities filed successive complaints about his tweets.

The international backlash comes as an Egyptian University of Washington student was detained on charges of spreading false news and belonging to a terrorist group after conducting research on Egypt’s judicial system, according to the Seattle Times. A French journalist was also barred from entering Egypt “without a clear explanation,” according to RFI.

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