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Sunday’s papers reveal how the battle for winning the presidential elections runoff is intensifying after early indicators showed that hopefuls Mohamed Morsy and Ahmed Shafiq will compete over Egypt’s top office next month.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsy and Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, received respectively 24.9 and 24.5 percent of the votes in the first round, according to unofficial results.
As a state of confusion and melancholy overwhelmed many after Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, and moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh failed to make the final runoff, both Shafiq and Morsy are striving to draw revolutionary forces to their sides.
Independent Al-Shorouk reports that a meeting was planned for Morsy to meet political groups and losing candidates to form a unified bloc against Shafiq “allegedly” for rescuing the country from restoring the old regime in a way or another.
However, the paper states that neither Abouel Fotouh nor Sabbahi showed up. The latter, it says, still hopes to make the runoff after appealing against the first round results over electoral violations.
“I will not be vice president to anyone,” a headline quotes Sabbahi saying on independent Al-Tahrir’s front page.
The paper also quotes an anonymous source saying that Sabbahi received a phone call from Abouel Fotouh trying to convince him to support Morsy in the runoff, which the source says Sabbahi obstinately rejected.
Returning to the political scene after a disappearance from public view, disqualified presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail announced in a statement issued by his campaign that he backs the Brotherhood’s candidate against Shafiq, state-owned Al-Gomhurriya reports on its second page.
Abu Ismail was excluded from entering the presidential race as a result of his late mother’s dual nationality. According to a law issued after former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, presidential candidates must have Egyptian nationality only, and their parents and spouses too should not hold any other citizenship other than Egyptian.
Independent Al-Dostour allocates half its front page to coverage of a press conference Shafiq held on Saturday, along with a common photo from his presidential campaign.
Al-Dostour highlights some of Shafiq’s conciliatory statements in top headlines: “The revolution has been kidnapped from the youth … and I pledge to restore it to your hands” and “Egypt has changed and no one can restore Mubarak’s regime.”
Shafiq is scrambling to reach out to his opponents for support by “apparently” changing his stance toward the Mubarak regime, in which he had developed deep roots over the decades.
The former air force commander is regarded by some as “counter-revolutionary figure” for his service as civil aviation minister since 2002 and his inflammatory statements against revolutionaries during the 2011 uprising.
On its third page, independent Youm7 discusses a news article from British paper The Guardian describing the early presidential election results as a “nightmare scenario.”
The Guardian attributes Shafiq’s success to mounting fears of Islamists’ power and hopes for a rapid return of stability and security, which, it says, the Islamist-dominated Parliament has failed to restore.
In his column, state-run Al-Ahram editor-in-chief Mohamed Abdel Hady gives an analysis of the reasons that led Egyptians to come out of the presidential election “empty-handed,” with no revolutionary candidate to represent their voice.
Abdel Hady strongly criticizes both Abouel Fotouh and Sabbahi for failing to reach an agreement to field one of them for presidency. “(Both) bear the responsibility for this result, as the independent running of each squandered revolutionary power.”
He writes that the first-round election result was a logical outcome of the rift between revolutionary forces and Islamists, whose main concern is monopolizing authority, he says, rather than fulfilling the revolution’s demands.
“Those [Islamist] movements still adhere to old policies … mobilizing people by utilizing their poor economic circumstances and accusations of infidelity.”
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned
Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party
Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party