Egypt: Presidential campaigns hit ground running

Presidential candidates in Egypt have launched their campaigns for the upcoming national elections set to be held this May.

el-Sisi revealed his campaign slogan of “long live Egypt” along with his social media effort. His campaign now has 41 election headquarters in 27 Egypt governorates, with six just in Cairo. It was reported yesterday that he has not received his electoral papers as his application to the Presidential Electoral Commission (PEC) was missing some required documents.

A conflict between the two presidential candidates already hit the ground as Hamdeen Sabbahi’s party stated the following:

The team also said Al-Sisi supporters attacked Sabahy campaigners in Port Said and the police didn’t intervene. Some of its volunteers were attacked in Heliopolis by Al-Sisi supporters, who allegedly tore down Sabahy posters and berated campaigners, the campaign reported.

Sabbahi on Tuesday has begun collecting signatures for his presidential candidate application to the PEC, obtaining signatures across Egypt’s governorates. His supporters have already indirectly accused the Sisi campaign for “irregularities,” claiming their effort of getting the required signatures has been interfered by others.

The new defense minister, replacing now presidential candidate el-Sisi, Sedki Sobhi says he will put all his effort into stability and to ensure national security. The Daily News Egypt reports he “vowed to upgrade troops’ combat ability and boost morale.”

On the streets

Al-Azhar University “permanently allows police forces on campus” to ensure security as student protests turn violent.

An Egypt group, Freedom for the Brave campaign, has issued a call for a joint protest demanding the release of detainees. They state the protest is in conjunction with the 6 April Youth Movement, 6 April – Democratic Front and the Revolutionary Socialists and is to take place in Cairo this Thursday.

Through talks

Defense for Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie and 50 other Muslim Brotherhood members walked out of court and withdraw from representing the accused in the trial for planning violent actions across the country. A judge reportedly told the defense team to “shut up,” the Daily News Egypt reports.

Strong Egypt Party leader Abouel Fotouh blames the current interim government and the military crackdown for the violence that is being committed across the country, stating that the “current regime is the cause of Muslim Brotherhood violence.”

Al-Azhar University expels 25 students after two were shot dead on the university campus in Cairo during protest clashes with security forces on Sunday.

Headlines

Al-Ahram Online interviews presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi [Video and transcript]

Already outlawed in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Britain has ordered an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood organization now hosting a new home in London. Prime minister Cameron worries “the group is planning radical activities” from their base in Britain.

In foreign policy, Egypt’s foreign minister Fahmy attended a security related meeting with the European Union and Africa nations. And in the conflict with Ethiopia over a dam, there has been no new policy over the issue, the national foreign minister said. Egypt claims the new dam to be built by Ethiopia would threaten Nile river water security.

An Egypt prosecution ordered a four day detention arrest for a policeman who was charged for sexually harassing a tourist. The Cabinet is to also review a draft of the nation’s first sexual harassment law.

The Rafah border crossing from Egypt into Gaza was open for three days this week and has been closed again. They opened it for a limited time for what the call “humanitarian cases.”

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