Writers focused on various local affairs occurring shortly before presidential election
In the privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, Editor-in-chief Emad El-Din Hussein revived last week’s talks on the Saudi megaproject involving Egypt, known as Neom, where he reflected on the context of the project with regards to challenges such as terrorism, normalisation with Israel, and developmental and economic challenges faced by the Egyptian people.
Also in Al-Shorouk, Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafiz addressed the election, drawing a comparison between voters’ abstinence four years ago in an election for which the results were known and saw state efforts to increase participation at the ballot boxes. He argued that the reason the public seems once more disinterested is that they do not feel the election is real due to potential candidates being shut out, the closure of public spaces, and the non-communication of the main candidate with the public in terms of electoral programme details.
From a different perspective, some op-eds continue in the direction of condemning critics of the election and of the Egyptian political scene, especially at the foreign level. For example, Al-Ahram’s Morsi Attallah described some channels broadcasting from “Doha, Istanbul, and London” as inciting with no justification, but rather, upon receiving orders from those providing them with safe havens, “like mercenaries,” he wrote.
On the other hand, Amr Al-Shobaky, in the private Al-Masry Al-Youm, argued that the recent brief detention of pro-state television host Khairy Ramadan revealed an unprecedented media scene which gets blamed for every problem in the country, witnesses disputes and insults among hosts themselves, absence of professionalism, and complete affiliation with money and power.
This comes as Al-Masry Al-Youm’s chairperson, Yasser Rizk, wrote an op-ed titled “The war on Egypt,” where he particularly criticised US Senator John McCain’s statements on the election, calling it an unacceptable foreign interference.
Several writers commented on recent clashes between football fans, allegedly affiliated with Ultras Ahlawy, and security forces during a match. The incident featured chants against the government and reportedly resulted in damage of stadium seating and security cameras. The issue revived questions on the long-banned public attendance of football games and security measures that should be implemented.
In state-owned publication Al-Ahram, Mamdouh Fahmy, who criticised the football fan group and considered it a threat to national security, insisted on the idea that one of the effective steps to face them would be to continue using stadiums and opening them for public attendance, writing that the “everyone is waiting for the end of Ultras, which will come sooner than expected.”
In the same direction, Osama Ismail, in Al-Ahram, wrote that some troublemakers cannot be the reason the rest of fans are prevented from watching games.
In Al-Youm Al-Sabea, Hazem Salah El-Din praised Mahmoud Al-Khatib, president of Al-Ahly FC for issuing a statement the writer considered to be balanced, where he asserted respect for fans and rejected assault on state properties. Salah El-Din further appreciated Al-Khatib’s “cooperation” with security authorities by providing them the database of fans who purchased tickets for a game.