News / Middle East

Egyptian Villagers Debate Candidates' Economic Plans

Egyptian Villagers Debate Candidates' Economic Plansi
|| 0:00:00
X
Elizabeth Arrott
June 13, 2012 8:27 PM
Egypt's economic stagnation was a key factor in the revolt against the old government. In one village, voters worried about their future are divided over which of the two presidential candidates could help them move forward. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott and Japhet Weeks have more from Kariat Mazoura.
Elizabeth Arrott
MAZOURA, Egypt - Egypt's economic stagnation was a key factor in the revolt against the old government. In one village, voters worried about their future are divided over which of the two presidential candidates could help them move forward.  

Life in rural Egypt under the previous government was hard. Poverty was endemic - a third of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day. Prospects for change were almost nil. So the promise of new leadership has many in the countryside upbeat.

In Mazoura, a village in Beni Suef, south of Cairo, farmer Abu Samra Zaki Mahmoud is pinning his hopes on presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq - an old guard technocrat credited with bringing Egypt's aviation up to modern standards.

Farmer Abu Samra Zaki Mahmoud tries to drum up support for Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, Mazoura, Egypt, June 7, 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)Farmer Abu Samra Zaki Mahmoud tries to drum up support for Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, Mazoura, Egypt, June 7, 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)
x
Farmer Abu Samra Zaki Mahmoud tries to drum up support for Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, Mazoura, Egypt, June 7, 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)
Farmer Abu Samra Zaki Mahmoud tries to drum up support for Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, Mazoura, Egypt, June 7, 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)
Samra says Shafiq is a man of experience in politics and economics.  “He knows how to put the country in shape," he said. 

Samra is canvassing Mazoura on Shafiq's behalf. With some voters, it's an easy sell.

A voter calls Shafiq a role model - someone who would benefit villagers like himself and bring reform.

Like many Egyptians, the people of Mazoura feel the burden of rising prices and unemployment, declining subsidies and a bureaucracy that quashes initiative.

But those same conditions helped propel Shafiq's rival, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi, to first place in an earlier round of voting.

The Islamist group's long history of grassroots charity has given it an edge, as evidenced as Abu Samra makes his way through a particularly pro-Morsi lane.

Despite the differences that spawn such loyalties, some say Morsi and Shafiq are surprisingly close on economic matters.

"Both candidates subscribe to a private-led economy, to some government intervention in the form of rules and regulations to streamline the process," said Magda Kandil, the director of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies. "There are more of targeted social measures to provide a pro-active support to the small and medium enterprises.”

The similarities won't stop some voters from arguing over the candidates' relative merits.

Kandil says voters should be concerned that neither candidate has shown specifically how he plans to achieve ambitious goals.

"They are not very concrete in terms of the instruments and accordingly I am very concerned about their ability to connect with reality,” said Kandil.

It’s an observation that, if born out, likely means neither candidate will be able to ease economic woes any time soon.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jennifer from: Egypt
June 14, 2012 5:20 AM
The Muslim Brotherhoods only aim is to squash Israel. They spawned Hamas and now they want to control Egypt in order to further their goals there. Muslim Brotherhood has lied repeatedly and blatantly, and they DON'T have Egypt's best interests at heart.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid