Top News: As Expat Polls Close, Sisi Appears to be Big Winner

According to the Presidential Elections Committee, more than 315,000 Egyptians living outside the country voted in the Egypt’s presidential elections exceeding the number of those who voted in the 2012 poll.

As expat polls close, Sisi appears to be big winner
According to the Presidential Elections Committee, more than 315,000 Egyptians living outside the country voted in the Egypt’s presidential elections exceeding the number of those who voted in the 2012 poll. The number of Egyptian expats is estimated at eight million people. The state owned MENA released the preliminary results of expat voting, which took place between Thursday and Monday. The results show a huge lead for ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over his only competitor, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi. The collated results show Sisi claiming 92.5 percent of the ballots cast; Sabbahi won 5.98 percent and 1.9 percent of ballots were invalidated. The preliminary results from the 114 polling stations counted 225,299 votes. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 5/20/2014]

Sisi talks Marshall plan, Ethiopia, and pardons in TV Interview
Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi answered questions about political prisoners, the Ethiopian dam, and other issues in the second half of his third pre-election interview on Monday. When asked if he would release those jailed for breaking the controversial protest law, Sisi said, “I will do anything that will help promote stability and social justice.” He emphasized that he was not speaking about the Muslim Brotherhood. The former army chief spoke of a Marshall plan in the works for Egypt, similar to the US-sponsored plan that rebuilt Europe in the aftermath of World War II. Sisi said education and health would be at the top of his agenda if he was elected president. Sisi called for further negotiations on the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia. Sisi also said he would improve slums by installing electricity and sewage facilities, and repairing roads. Sisi rejected the notion that he represents former president Hosni Mubarak and that he is trying to restore the pre-January revolution regime. [Ahram Online, 5/20/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Kites for Sabahi, planes and jet skis for Sisi | Ahram Online
  • Morsy’s daughter: My father refused privileges from army in exchange of his resignation | Egypt Independent
  • Karama Party requests HEC to investigate Mahlab’s alleged meeting with Sisi | Egypt Independent
  • Sabbahi Campaign: Results of foreign voting influenced by Mubarak’s media propaganda | AMAY (Arabic)


Alexandria court hands activists Masry and eight others two year sentences
A court in Alexandria upheld Tuesday an earlier verdict sending a group of activists to two years in jail and fining them EGP 50,000 for organizing an unauthorized protest during the Khaled Said murder retrial. Mahienour al-Masry, Loai Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, Omar Abdel-Aziz Hussein, Islam Mohamed Ahmed, Nasser Abul-Hamed Ibrahim, Hassan Mostafa, Moussa Hussein, and Hassan al-Siyad were convicted of organizing an unauthorized protest, blocking the road, assaulting a police officer, and destroying a police vehicle on December 2. The initial verdict was issued in January, appealed in February, where the court upheld the decision. Some of the defendants were sentenced in absentia; they appealed the verdict for the second time. [Ahram Online 5/20/2014]

Court upholds death penalty for Islamist who threw children off roof  
Alexandria’s criminal court upheld on Monday an earlier verdict sentencing an Islamist to death for throwing children off a roof last July. In March, the court sentenced to death Mahmoud Hassan Abdel-Nabi, whose verdict was confirmed on Monday, along with Abdullah al-Ahmadi on charges of manslaughter, thuggery, violence, illegal possession of weapons, and disturbing public order. The defendant’s papers have been sent to the office of the Grand Mufti, the country’s official authority for issuing religious edicts, who must review all death sentences as per Egyptian law. The verdict against al-Ahmadi was changed to a life sentence after his papers were sent to the Grand Mufti. The convicts were arrested last July after a video showing them throwing children from the rooftop of a building in Alexandria’s district of Sidi Gaber went viral. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, Mada Masr, 5/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Trial of Alexandria lawyers and activists postponed | DNE
  • Jordanian spy trial postponed to May 22 | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Morsy trial over Ittehadiya clashes to resume Tuesday | Egypt Independent


Egyptian consumers’ confidence falls 8 percent in April
Egyptian consumers say they are less likely to spend more as their perceived income levels fall and they become more doubtful of the government’s economic policies, according to a report from the government’s official think-tank. The monthly report, published on Monday by the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC), shows that the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) fell 8 percent to 98.1 points in April, as compared to the previous month. The survey reveals that the decline is driven by a sharp drop in the index for families’ income levels, down by 13.2 percent to record a mere 47.2 points. This indicates that families perceive their income levels as declining and are less likely to purchase durable goods like home appliances and furniture in the near future, despite a 2.3 percent rise in average annual salaries to EGP 26,161 in the fiscal year 2012/13. [Ahram Online, 5/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Vodafone sees 2015 earnings hit by network investment | Ahram Online
  • American Hepatitis C drug on the market in September | Egypt Independent
  • Petroleum Minister: Aiming to pipe natural gas to more than 100,000 houses in Qalyubiya in the next three years | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Egypt turns to army in war on unemployment | Reuters


Baseera poll reveals 8 percent decline in voter participation
A recent survey by Egypt’s state polling center showed that the number of Egyptians who say they will vote in the country’s upcoming presidential elections has dropped by almost 10 percent in just one week. According to the survey from the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera), 80 percent said they will in the upcoming poll, down from 88 percent a week ago. Twelve percent said they will boycott the vote, while 8 percent said they are undecided. Egyptian universities will be closed from May 22-31 due to the presidential election, the Supreme Council of Universities announced. The election will be take place on May 26-27. [Ahram Online, 5/20/2014]

Egyptians demonstrate for and against Sisi in the lead up to elections
A campaign urging Egyptians not to vote for former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, held a march on Monday between Cairo’s Agouza and Zamalek districts. Although the march was sparsely attended, it began with fierce verbal altercations at its meeting point in Kit Kat Square. As the group began to march, supporters of the former field marshal began to sing songs associated with his campaign. April 6 Democratic Front activist Sherif al-Rouby stressed that the group’s purpose was not to encourage citizens to vote for Sisi’s lone competitor, Hamdeen Sabbahi. The Tamarod campaign held demonstration in Ramses square, calling for Egyptians to vote for Sisi and distributing flyers listing the reasons to vote for him. The Health Services Syndicate announced on Monday that it will delay any planned strikes, sit-ins, or demonstrations until after presidential elections conclude next week. [Ahram Online, 5/20/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Boycotters presidential elections: Skit for the inauguration of al-Sisi | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Democracy Index releases report on 2013 protests | DNE, Egypt Independent


Gunmen kill three policemen at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University
Gunmen killed three policemen on Monday night at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, security sources said. According to a statement by the ministry of interior, 250 protesters from Al-Azhar University blocked al-Khalifa al-Qaher Street at midnight and attacked local businesses, launching Molotov cocktails and fireworks at security forces. The assailants stepped out of two cars and opened fire on a security checkpoint just outside the university, also wounding eleven people, the sources said. [Reuters, DNE, Ahram Online, AP, Egypt Independent, SIS, 5/20/2014]

IEDs injure two children in Giza neighborhood
Two children were injured and hospitalized after accidentally triggering two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) Monday night. A group of children had been playing on the rooftop of a building in the Giza neighborhood of Imbaba when they set off the explosive devices, a statement by the ministry of interior said. A third IED that contained a large amount of gunpowder and nails was deactivated. The incident follows another bombing earlier on Monday at Ain Shams University, which injured six students. [DNE, Mada Masr, 5/20/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Bomb explodes at Assiut University’s main gate with no injuries | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Unknown assailants burn police car in Beni Suef | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Metro police chief: Sadat metro station will reopen soon | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Security camp targeted in North Sinai | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Unknown gunmen attack Arish pipeline | DNE, Ahram Online


Egypt calls for ending Libya’s divisions, rejects foreign intervention
The Egyptian foreign ministry on Monday announced its rejection of foreign intervention in Libya, calling on the neighboring country’s domestic parties to “end divisions and stop bloodshed.” The statement came after the Libyan army decided to impose a no-fly zone last Saturday, a direct challenge to retired general Khalifa Haftar, who has been using airpower to press a campaign against Islamist militants. Egyptian police closed the border between Libya and Egypt on Tuesday. Cairo condemned “attempts from inside and outside” Libya to push Egypt into the conflict and regarded the situation as a Libyan matter. Benghazi based activists rejected rumors that Egypt’s air force is involved in the current Libyan unrest. [Ahram Online, 5/20/2014]

Egypt’s Sisi meets with Saudi Prince Bin Talal
Egyptian presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met on Monday with Saudi Arabia’s Prince al-Waleed Bin Talal as well as a number of a number of Egyptian actors. A statement released on Sisi’s official Facebook page said the former military chief met with Talal, who is also chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), to listen to the latter’s vision on Egypt’s economic future and how to improve the country’s investment environment. During the meeting, Sisi expressed his gratitude to Talal for Saudi’s role in supporting Egypt’s economy in the recent period. [Ahram Online, 5/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s Amr Moussa denies saying Hamas must recognize Israel | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian PM heads to UAE to attend Arab Media Forum | Ahram Online
  • US, EU diplomats meet Mahlab before heading to Ethiopia | DNE, SIS
  • EU: Election supervision equipment does not violate Egypt’s sovereignty | Egypt Independent
  • Amid Egypt rights abuses, US stalls over more military aid | Reuters