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Broadcast Journalist and Multimedia Producer based in Paris, France

Posts Tagged ‘revolution

Muslim Brotherhood to face Mubarak-era prime minister in Egypt’s presidential run-off

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The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Moursi will face off against Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafiq in the second round of Egypt’s presidential election, according to unofficial results Friday. A statement issued by the Muslim Brotherhood mid-morning on Friday said the party’s candidate had won, according to their estimates.

Radio France Internationale

Moderate Islamist Moursi is thought to have garnered around 27 per cent, with Shafiq, who was premier for a time under deposed president Hosni Mubarak, securing 23 per cent, according to unofficial independent results.

Liberal Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Foutouh and Nasserist/leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi tie for third place with about 18 per cent. While former foreign minister Amr Moussa comes in fifth, in counting done by Iyad El-Baghdadi.

Figures show a turnout of around 50 per cent, ranging from 29 per cent in the Upper Egypt governorate of Aswan, to as high as 54 per cent in Suez, according to Al-Ahram newspaper.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s performance in the polls is unlikely to surprise many but Shafiq’s support will be seen as more of a shock.

In Minoufiya, a governorate with a majority population of low-income farmers, Shafiq is thought to have taken more then half the vote, maybe an indication of his campaign’s appeal to stability and security.

Amr Moussa did not win the support he was expected to get in Upper Egypt. Instead the Muslim Brotherhood seems to have won over voters, taking just over a third of ballots, with Shafiq securing 27 per cent.

In the city of Alexandria, experienced politician Sabahi, who claims to defend the legacy of nationalist former president Gamal Abdel Nasser, seems to have topped the polls. While in Suez the picture is more mixed, with Mousri just edging his rivals, and Shafiq coming fifth.

Cairo results are yet to be finalised.

Following early results Shafiq thanked his supporters on Facebook, according to Al-Ahram. He also saluted Sabahi and said he would not be “upset” if the third-placed candidate won, because he is a “patriotic” man.

In an interview on Thursday, Shafiq’s campaign spokesperson Ahmad Sarhan told RFI that he thinks it is unlikely that Egypt’s revolutionary youth will take to the streets.

“Many of the revolutionary youth comes here to the headquarters and talks to him [Shafiq] about the future,” Sarhan said, from the relatively elegant campaign office in the Dokki district of the capital.

“He opened his heart to them [the youth] and tried to listen to them. He told them clearly, the Muslim Brotherhood, they took it [the revolution] away from you,” Sarhan added.

The sentiment amongst youth is likely to be the most significant measure of possible challenges to the results and potential protests. Many see Shafiq as the chosen candidate of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and representative of the remnants of the Mubarak regime.

Sabahi’s surprise late increase in popularity can be attributed in some part to support from the revolutionary youth. On Thursday his campaign gave RFI the most accurate assessment of the outcome, given Friday’s early results. Putting Sabahi in the top three, the most modest prediction we have received from any of the contenders’ camps.

“He’s been changing position with Amr Moussa and Mohamed Moursi, in some areas. While in others it is between him and Ahmed Shafiq and Moursi,” said Sayed El-Toukhy a member of Sabahi’s campaign committee.

If necessary a second round runoff poll will take place on 16/17 June.

Written by Daniel Finnan

25 May 2012 at 13:31

Cairo’s street artists defy authorities with graffiti protest

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Whitewashing their own work, but with a difference. Mohamed Mahmoud Street, Cairo.

Cairo’s graffiti artists offered a sarcastic rebuttal to city authorities on Thursday during the last day of voting in Egypt’s presidential elections. Following plans to whitewash street art on Mohamed Mahmoud St, artists instead began the whitewashing themselves spelling out a cynical phrase in Arabic – “forget about the past, focus on the elections”.

Radio France Internationale

“We decided to do it, but our way,” independent artist Mahmoud Hany tells RFI, his hands covered in paint after descending down a ladder.

The wall just off Tahrir Square is particularly iconic. It features the faces of several martyrs, anti-military council slogans and reminders of last year’s uprising.

Hany says the city authorities had threatened to cover the wall a few days ago. But they wanted to beat them to it. “We have to be with the events,” he explains.

Some of the graffiti is particularly critical of the elections. With some of the so-called revolutionary youth seeing the polls as an exercise in consolidation of power for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Slideshow: Mohamed Mahmoud St, in downtown Cairo, Egypt

Especially evident, they say, in the candidacy of figures such as former Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shariq and former foreign minister Amr Moussa.

One evocative mural directs its criticism of the old regime by morphing the faces of various figures together.

“Half of it is [Field Marshall] Tantawi, and the other half is Hosni Mubarak,” says Hany. “Behind them, Amr Moussa and Shafiq,” he adds.

The young artist explained that the authorities removed the original piece featuring just Tantawi and Mubarak. So they repainted it. Adding Moussa and Shafiq, placed in the background.

Cairo’s downtown area is awash with graffiti over a year after the ousting of Mubarak. Further down Mohamed Mahmoud St each side street is blocked off by a wall constructed by the security services to protect the interior ministry. Each one serving as a canvas for Cairo’s street artists.

It is not clear how long the authorities will tolerate it for. Hany, however, is unperturbed. “Graffiti is not an art that lasts forever,” he says. “Anyone can add anything at anytime,” he adds, smiling.

Written by Daniel Finnan

25 May 2012 at 10:33

Voices from Tahrir by Human Rights Watch

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Egyptians celebrating in Tahrir Square

Egyptians celebrating in Tahrir Square. Photo: Platon, 2011

Voices from Tahrir Square is a sound portrait of the people’s revolution in Egypt for the anniversary of the 25 January – 11 February 2011 uprising. Features recordings made in the square by reporters and citizen journalists from around the world, including Daniel Finnan of Radio France Internationale.

PRX: Human Rights Watch

Written by Daniel Finnan

25 January 2012 at 11:41

Tunisian blogger Slim Amamou calls for post-revolutionary new world order

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Amamou at L’engagement 2.0, Le Grand Salon de la Sorbonne, Paris

Tunisian blogger Slim Amamou was in Paris on Tuesday to debate the use of social networks during the Tunisian revolt, and the future of politics shaped by online activism. Amamou, the former Tunisian Secretary of State for Youth and Sport, joined four other bloggers who played a key role in the Tunisian revolution for a conference focused on the role technology played in the country’s uprising. The event, hosted by Jeannette Bougrab, the French Secretary of State for Youth and Community, comes as political parties in Tunisia and the country’s electoral commission debate over the timetable for elections. On Monday the Progressist Democratic Party and the Islamist Ennahda movement conceded a possible delay for the vote. Organisers of the ballot would like to see it moved to October.

Interview: Slim Amamou, Tunisian blogger

Radio France Internationale

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