Top News: Egyptians Abroad Head to the Polls as Elections Begin

Egyptians living abroad began Thursday to cast their ballots in a presidential poll that is expected to bring former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power.

Sisi describes his vision of Egypt’s future in extended interview
Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave a wide ranging interview with Reuters. During the interview Sisi discussed the Egyptian military’s role in the economy, relations with the United States, and the future of the Muslim Brotherhood, among other topics. When asked about the economy, Sisi gave no concrete solutions only stressing the need to create jobs, deal with subsidies, and increase foreign investment in Egypt. When commenting on relations with the United States, Sisi called them ‘stable’ and urged President Obama to help Egypt in its struggle with terrorism in the region. He also asserted his desire to maintain peace with Israel and to see a future Palestinian state. When asked about the Muslim Brotherhood, Sisi expressed his disgust with the Brotherhood’s version of Islam. According to the latest Baseera poll, 76 percent of respondents said they would vote for Sisi if elections were held tomorrow, 2 percent Sabbahi and 15 percent were undecided. Seven percent refused to answer. [Reuters, 5/15/2014]

Egyptians abroad head to the polls as election begins
Egyptians living abroad began Thursday to cast their ballots in a presidential poll that is expected to bring former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power. Egyptian embassies and consulates across 124 countries are expected to open Thursday for voting over 12 hours, Egypt’s foreign ministry said. Polling locations in Paris, Austria’s Vienna, Sudan’s Khartoum, and New Zealand’s Wellington opened their doors Thursday morning for expatriate Egyptians to vote in the four-day poll that will conclude May 18. The Presidential Election Committee (PEC) urged expats to vote en masse in the poll. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 5/15/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Cabinet to review memorandum of understanding with MBC | DNE
  • Wafd Party’s internal elections not valid, says committee | Ahram Online
  • Presidential decree reallocates lands in Minya | SIS
  • Electoral council says tax evaders forbidden from participating in parliamentary elections | AMAY (Arabic)


Activists accusing Brotherhood members of torture say trial is politicized
Two leftist activists who filed a legal complaint against Muslim Brotherhood members on charges of torture released a statement Wednesday claiming the trial is politicized. Ola Shahba and Ramy Sabry, both members of “Freedom for the Brave” campaign aimed at the release of political prisoners, accused members of the Muslim Brotherhood of detaining them and torturing them during protests opposing now ousted president Mohamed Morsi at the presidential palace. The two, however, complain that the trial now underway has ignored their complaints accusing the interior minister and police of overseeing their torture by Brotherhood members. An al-Wasat Party lawyer who they also accused of supervising the torture was not put on trial, according to their statement, but only summoned as a witness. [Ahram Online, 5/14/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Prosecutors call for inquiry into Ain Shams Univ student’s death | Ahram Online
  • Marriot Cell Trial Adjourned to May 22 | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Beltagy and Hegazy torture trial begins | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Damietta prosecutor refers thirty-five Brotherhood members to criminal court | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt unemployment unchanged at 13.4 percent in first quarter
Egypt’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in the first quarter of 2014 at 13.4 percent, state-run statistics body CAPMAS announced. Almost 70 percent of unemployed people were aged between 15 and 29, and more than 79 percent hold diplomas or university degrees. The CAPMAS quarterly report released on Wednesday said that the persistence of high unemployment reflects an on-going slowdown in economic activity, especially in productive sectors such as industry, tourism and construction. [Ahram Online, 5/15/2014]

UAE says no plans for more financial aid to Egypt for now
The United Arab Emirates’ finance minister said on Thursday the country, a major supporter of Egypt since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, had no plan for additional financial aid to Egypt for now. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the deputy ruler of Dubai, told reporters, “We are talking about support (for Egypt).” Asked whether there were plans for more financial aid, he said, “No plans for now.” [Reuters, 5/15/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • BNP Paribas execs face shareholder grilling over US fine | Reuters
  • Egypt applies Daylight Saving Time starting Friday | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt halfway to wheat purchase target | Mada Masr
  • Pound hits low as bank auctions $1.1 billion for food imports | Mada Masr
  • EGP 136 million program for female breadwinners | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Loans for young owners of bakeries and mobile marketing outlets | Aswat Masriya


One killed in clashes in eastern Cairo
Violent clashes left one person killed and twenty stores destroyed in Cairo’s Ezbet Nakhl district on Wednesday night, said the state-owned news agency. Confrontations erupted between the “Muslim Brotherhood” and residents of the area, which stopped the metro’s movement for half an hour. Security forces arrested ten individuals for their involvement in the clashes. In related news, dozens of students marched to the Raba’a al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City Wednesday evening and set fire to scaffolding around a monument erected by security forces. The students were reported to be from an Islamist coalition known as “Students Against the Coup.” Videos circulating on social networking sites showed protesters chanting slogans against military rule and against presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 5/14/2014]

April 6 to boycott upcoming presidential elections
Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement has announced it will boycott the upcoming presidential elections, describing the process as “a farce” during a press conference on Wednesday. The group slammed the commanders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), accusing them of leading a counterrevolution against the 2011 revolution and using “the revolutionary wave of 30 June” to bring military rule back to Egypt in reference to the 2013 protests that led to the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, which the movement described as a coup. April 6 joins the Strong Egypt party with their decision to boycott the upcoming election. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 5/14/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt celebrates 50th anniversary of building the Aswan Dam | Ahram Online
  • Torture remains “endemic” in Egypt: Amnesty | Ahram Online
  • Hunger-striking journalist warns authorities are to blame if health fails | Ahram Online, DNE
  • No exams, students at dorms during elections at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University | Ahram Online


Six policemen injured in militant attack; Military kills two and arrests nine in Sinai
Unknown gunmen opened fire on a police vehicle in the North Sinai border town of al-Arish on Wednesday, leaving six policemen injured, a security source in North Sinai said. The injured policemen were transferred to a nearby hospital. Ahmed Yehia Abdel-Aziz suffered gunshots to the stomach and both legs and Eid Abdel-Aziz suffered gunshots to both legs. The four others suffered minor injuries but were not shot. Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali reported that the operation aimed at flushing out “pockets of terrorism” near the town of Sheikh Zuwayed resulted in the deaths of two individuals claimed to be terrorist takfiris, along with the arrest of nine others. [Ahram Online, 5/14/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Interior Minister: Bayt al-Maqdis arranged a revenge assassination attempt for Raba’a al-Adaweya | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Man accused of trying to kill officer detained fifteen days | AMAY (Arabic)


Hagel says Egyptian government has done enough to continue US aid
US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday that Egypt’s new government “is not anywhere near where they need to be to fulfill the commitments that they made” to a pathway to a democratic society. But he also added that the government had done “enough” to keep its certification for continued US aid. Hagel’s comments came during a visit to Saudi Arabia in which he urged the Gulf states to unite against security threats to strengthen its influence in the region. [NYT, AMAY (Arabic), 5/15/2014]

Fahmy says the West at risk of ‘Losing the Egyptian people’
Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy has told the BBC that the “West risks losing the Egyptian people” over its reaction to recent events in the country. Fahmy arrived in London on Monday for talks with British officials. He will meet his British counterpart William Hague on Wednesday. He told the BBC that the West was playing catch-up with fast-moving events in the Middle East. Al-Jazeera journalists accused of terrorism-related offences will get a fair trial, Fahmy asserted. The government is unable to interfere in the case. “The courts will decide,” Fahmy added. “If they are found innocent I will be very happy to see that result.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, 5/15/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Foreign ministry meets German delegation to discuss EU monetary aid, transition | DNE