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Egypt Fixes Dates For Parliamentary Elections1 minute read

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Egypt will hold parliamentary elections on Oct. 24-25, elections commisioner Lasheen Ibrahim told a televised press conference on Thursday.

Egyptians abroad will be able to vote on Oct. 21-23, Ibrahim added.

Final results following re-runs will be announced in December and the new legislature will hold its inaugural session in early January.

The North Africa country last held House of Representatives’ elections in 2015 with supporters of President Abel Fattah El Sisi, who was first elected to power in 2014, dominating the House.

Mr El Sisi was re-elected in 2018, defeating a little-known politician ranked among Mr El Sisi’s supporters.

Several potential challengers, including two former generals and an active-service colonel, were either convicted and imprisoned for breaching the military code or reportedly pressured to drop out of the race.

In 2019, a nationwide referendum adopted constitutional amendments that allow Mr El Sissi to stay in power until 2030 if he selects to do so. The changes also resurrected an upper house of parliament, formally known as the House of Senators, that was struck out by the country’s 2014 constitution.

Elections for the advisory, 300-seat senate took place in August and reruns were held this month. The new chamber will be held by supporters of Mr El Sisi. Turnout for the senate’s election, however, was only 14.23 per cent of the country’s more than 60 million registered voters. Commentators attributed the low turnout to the coronavirus pandemic, a lack of awareness about the new chamber and voter apathy.

Mr Ibrahim appealed to voters to go to the polls in the upcoming elections.

“Voting is a moral commitment and a patriotic duty before it is a legal commitment prescribed by the constitution and the law,” he said.

North Africa Politics

One Killed As Protesters Demand El-Sisi’s Resignation

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At least one person was killed during a protest against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi od Egypt’s government.

Thousands of protesters had on Friday defied a police crackdown to demonstrate against the Egyptian government for the sixth straight day.

The protests – dubbed by demonstrators as a “Friday of rage” – took place across cities, towns and rural areas in Egypt afternoon prayers, including in the capital, Cairo.

Videos of the protests on social media showed protesters burning tyres and chanting: “say it out loud and don’t be scared, el-Sisi has got to go”

In another protesters and riot police squared off in a neighbourhood before police charged at the crowd, causing people to scatter in all directions.

One video purportedly taken in the village of Kafr Saad in Damietta showed police wielding guns as they attempted to disperse protesters.

A 25-year-old protester, Sami Wagdy Bashir, was reportedly killed in al-Blida village in the Giza governorate.

Three others were wounded in the same shooting, the Najda human rights group said.

Mohamed Ali, a prominent opposition figure and a former military contractor living in exile, offered condolences to Bashir’s family.

In some areas, the protests continued late into the night, videos posted online by activists showed.

Several people were also arrested.

The latest wave of anti-government rallies was triggered by el-Sisi’s decision to demolish what he called illegal construction nationwide. Many of the affected neighbourhoods house some of the country’s poorest communities, many who have already been suffering because of the ailing economy, made worse by the coronavirus lockdown.

The demonstrations also come a year after a limited protest movement kindled by Ali, who accused the government of wasting money on lavish construction projects.

The protests last year triggered a wide-ranging crackdown, with Amnesty International saying at least 4,000 people were arrested.

Protests have become very rare in Egypt under el-Sisi, who has banned unauthorised demonstrations after taking power in 2013 following the military’s removal of then-President Mohammad Morsi.

Ahead of Friday’s protests, Ali called on Egyptians to take to the streets again in a video posted on Facebook, saying, “This is our chance to liberate our country.”

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Togolese Prime Minister, Government Resign

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Togolese Prime Minister, Komi Selom Klassou, and his government have resigned in a political reshuffle delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Klassou has served as prime minister since 2015.

The country’s president, Faure Gnassingbe, who won re-election in February, is set to appoint a new PM shortly.

Gnassingbe, disclosed the development in a statement on the presidency’s official website on Friday, congratulating the Cabinet for its work while in office.

Gnassingbe congratulated Klassou and his team for their “economic, political and social efforts and the encouraging results despite the health crisis around the world.”

A governmental change has been anticipated since President Gnassingbe re-election which extended his 15-year-old rule and a family dynasty that began when his father took power in a 1967 coup.

The presidency did not say when a new prime minister would be appointed.

Ahead of the February election, a fractured opposition struggled to launch a concerted campaign to unseat Gnassingbe despite widespread disaffection with his leadership of the small West African country of 8 million people.

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ECOWAS Gives Condition For Lifting Mali’s Sanction

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will not lift economic sanctions it slammed on Mali following a coup five weeks ago, the bloc said on Friday.

ECOWAS had imposed strict sanctions, which aralysed the landlocked country’s economy, after the Aug. 18 coup that overthrew Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as president.

The 15-member regional bloc said the blockade will be lifted after a civilian prime minister has been nominated.

The sanctions “will be lifted when a civilian prime minister is named”, ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said on Friday.

The announcement came shortly after Mali’s new president, Colonel Bah N’Daou (retd), was sworn in at a ceremony in the capital Bamako

N’Daou, a former defence minister, was picked by the coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, to head a transitional government until elections are held.

The elections are expected to hold in 18 months.

N’daou, 70, took the oath of office in front of several hundred military officers, political leaders and diplomats. Col Goita was sworn in as vice president during a ceremony in the capital Bamako.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony, the new president said: “The charter is my guidebook.

“Mali has given me everything. I am happy to be its submissive slave, willing to do everything for it to return to full constitutional legality, with elected authorities, legitimate representatives.

“The transition period which begins will not dispute any international undertaking by Mali, nor the agreements signed by the government.”

N’daou, who also served as defence minister in 2014 and previously headed the air force, has been described by former colleagues as “principled”.

In his inaugural address, he said he would crack down on graft, one of the main complaints against Keita’s government, and stamp out abuses of civilians by the armed forces.

Besides fearing that the coup could undermine their own power, presidents in the wider Sahel region are concerned prolonged uncertainty could jeopardise a joint campaign against Islamist militants centred in northern and central Mali.

A previous coup in Mali in 2012 helped hasten the fall of the desert north to al Qaeda-linked militants, forcing a French intervention the following year to drive them back.

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