News

    Egyptian Voters Weigh Options in Narrowed Presidential Field

    Abdeen Palace, one of Egypt's presidential offices, awaits its next tenant, April 17, 2012.
    Abdeen Palace, one of Egypt's presidential offices, awaits its next tenant, April 17, 2012.

    Just weeks before Egyptians go to the polls, many voters remain undecided about who should be their first post-revolution president.  Their options have narrowed after three leading candidates were disqualified.

    The political scene in Cairo these days often seems as chaotic as the city's traffic.  On a busy downtown street, potential voters voice their concerns about the barring of front-runners from across the political spectrum.

    A supporter of the disqualified Islamist candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail says the decision means he won't vote for anyone.

    Mohamed Salem
    Mohamed Salem

    Mohamed Salem says with his Salafist pick gone, he has no plans to go to the polls.  If he does, he adds, it will only be to reject the other candidates.

    Salem says the ousting was politically motivated, a sentiment shared by many online and on the street - questioning why Abu Ismail, along with former spy chief Omar Suleiman and Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat el-Shater have been disqualified. Theories range from the ruling military council trying to split the Islamist vote, to boosting old guard candidate Amr Moussa.

    Not everyone sees dark motives in the electoral judges' decision.

    Hala
    Hala

    Office manager Hala, who gave only her first name, says she trusts the judiciary, one of the few institutions under former President Hosni Mubarak to enjoy a reputation of independence.

    She says the judiciary has integrity, and points to what she considers legitimate concerns over the would-be candidates' compliance with candidacy laws.

    Political analyst and publisher Hisham Kassem agrees.

    “The conspiracy theory is now on everything in Egypt, okay?.  But when you look at the work and the way the election committee is conducting its working procedurally, it's clear there are procedural mistakes that they have brought out and made very clear,” he said.

    The sense of predictability in Egypt, whether it's that the judiciary will act fairly, or higher powers won't, is countered by some sharp shifts in the political landscape.


    The Muslim Brotherhood was long admired for its behind-the-scenes charity works and devotion to Islam, and turned that to success in the parliamentary polls. But with the rise came accountability.

    Gamal Ibrahim Mohamed
    Gamal Ibrahim Mohamed

    Voter Gamal Ibrahim Mohamed has been disappointed. Mohamed said he supported the Brotherhood during the parliamentary elections, but now their “greed has become apparent.”  They just want to seize power for their own interests, he said, adding he will vote for anyone but them.  

    With al-Shater out, the Brotherhood is now putting forth their reserve candidate, Mohammed Mursi.

    Mohamed Morsi, left, of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian presidential hopeful Amr Moussa, right, at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo, January 6, 2012
    Mohamed Morsi, left, of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian presidential hopeful Amr Moussa, right, at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo, January 6, 2012

    Political analyst Kassem believes the electorate will roughly be divided among three candidates: Mursi, whose second-choice status could be offset by the group's devoted following, former Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Aboul Fattouh, widely respected for his decades of opposition to the former government, and Moussa, who despite being part of the Mubarak team stood out for occasional streaks of independence.

    Kassem adds that with the process so new - this is only Egypt's second contested presidential election, and the first that promises to be legitimately so - these general impressions will be key.  

    “The regular voter is not even someone who can examine a program or an agenda of a candidate, which really means in the end it is going to boil down to personalities," he said. "And in some cases it is going to be if you hold a successful conference or rally and immediately your votes rise and then followed by another which is not good and it brings down your vote.”

    Kassem predicts a very unstable next few weeks, and an outcome impossible to forecast.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.