Daily Archives: June 3, 2014

Présidentielle égyptienne : Al-Sissi officiellement élu avec 96,91% des voix

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L’ancien chef de l’armée égyptienne, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, a officiellement remporté l’élection présidentielle avec 96,91 % des voix, selon les chiffres de la commission électorale.

Les chiffres sont désormais officiels. Sans surprise, la Commission électorale égyptienne a confirmé, mardi 3 juin, l’écrasante victoire d’Abdel Fattah al-Sissi à l’élection présidentielle du 28 mai dernier. L’ancien chef de l’armée a récolté 96,91 % des suffrages,

Le maréchal  a recueilli 23 780 104 suffrages contre 757 511 pour son unique rival, le leader de la gauche Hamdine Sabahi.

Le taux de participation, qui était la seule inconnue de ce scrutin, est proche de 47 % des 54 millions d’inscrits.

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Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi declared Egypt’s president

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Former Army Chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi won 96 percent of the votes in the recent presidential election, the Presidential Election Commission said on Tuesday.

The commission said Sisi has more than 23 million votes of the 53 million registered voters. The voter turnout was set at 47 percent, said Anwar el-Assi, chairman of the commission.

The official results of the three-day Egyptian presidential elections last week is expected to be announced by the electoral committee on Tuesday.

Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is already being celebrated in the country as a clear winner, according to exit polls which saw him take the lead against his sole competitor leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi with 93 percent of the vote.

Egypt’s elections committee rejected Sabbahi’s appeal against voting results that gave Sisi a landslide victory, judicial sources said.

Sabahi’s campaign sent a complaint to the elections committee on Friday objecting to what it said was “the existence of campaigning inside polling stations” by Sisi supporters, among other abuses.

It also appealed to the committee to nullify all votes cast on the third day of polling, which was introduced at the last minute of the second day of the vote on Tuesday in a surprise move to boost low turnout.

On Thursday, Sabahi conceded defeat and he said he will accept the final result of the vote.

The vote came 10 months after the army’s ouster of elected Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July in reaction to protests against his rule. Since then, Sisi has ridden of wave of popularity after having led Mursi’s ouster.

 

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Confirmed: Ukrainian air force fired over 150 missiles at Lugansk, bombed admin HQ

Kiev has admitted showering the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk with dozens of missiles from the air, saying that its Air Force helicopters and jets “fired more than 150 missiles” in Monday’s military action.

DEATH TOLL: 181 people killed, 293 injured in Kiev military op

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also confirmed on Tuesday that the deadly explosion at the city’s administrative building was indeed an airstrike. Kiev has so far denied the responsibility for the incident, saying its forces “do not target” civilian areas.

The OSCE Ukrainian mission’s daily report stated that “on June 2, around 15:00 local time missiles hit the building of the regional government administration. According to the observers’ data, the strike was carried out with non-guided missiles launched from an aircraft.”

According to an earlier statement by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the intense bombing in Lugansk area was meant to “support the Ukrainian Border Guards,” which the local militia have been trying to take under control.

“All in all, for fulfilling the combat support of the Ukrainian border guards the army aviators fired more than 150 missiles, carried out three jet sorties and five helicopter sorties,” the statement says.

The air support was backed by fighter jets launching decoy flares to prevent the attacking aircraft from being targeted from the ground.

According to the ministry, two self-defense checkpoints were destroyed in the attack.

Not all the Monday fighting was on the outskirts of Lugansk, apparently, as one Ukrainian missile hit the occupied Lugansk administration building, killing at least eight civilians inside and nearby. Some Kiev politicians have laid the blame on the self-defense forces for the “blast,” which has undoubtedly been confirmed as an airstrike by the accounts of witnesses and the CCTV footage from the scene.

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Obama pledges $1bn for more troops, military drills in E. Europe

With an F-16 fighter in the background, U.S. President Barack Obama and Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski (R) shake hands upon Obama’s arrival at Chopin Airport in Warsaw June 3, 2014

President Obama has announced a plan to invest $1 billion in stepping up its military presence in Eastern Europe amid the Ukrainian crisis. The White House will send more troops and equipment to the region to “reaffirm” its commitment to NATO allies.

Speaking at a news conference in Warsaw, Obama said America was stepping up its partnership with countries in Eastern Europe with a view to bolstering security. The moves are aimed at upping the pressure on Russia, which Washington has accused of inciting unrest in Ukraine.

In line with the plans, Obama will ask Congress to provide up to $1 billion to finance the deployment of more troops and equipment.

“Under this effort, and with the support of Congress, the United States will preposition more equipment in Europe,” Obama said at the Polish capital’s Belweder Palace.

With F-16 fighters in the background, U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks next to Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski (R) at a military airport near Warsaw June 3, 2014

Earlier in the day Obama met with US and Polish air personnel in Warsaw and said the US had already begun rotating additional soldiers in the region.

“Given the situation in Ukraine right now, we have also increased our American presence. We’ve begun rotating additional ground troops and F-16 aircraft into Poland… to help our forces support NATO air missions,” said Obama, calling the commitment to NATO allies in Europe “the cornerstone of our own security.”

Obama called on Moscow to refrain from further provocation in Ukraine and said it has a responsibility to work constructively with the new government in Kiev. He added that the troop buildup in Eastern Europe was not meant to threaten Russia, but “rebuilding trust may take some time.”

The American president will meet with newly-elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during his two-day stay in Poland.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski praised Washington’s plans to beef up military forces in the region.

“We welcome them as an announcement of a real return by NATO to standing very strongly by the basis of the alliance, which is Article 5, which speaks about the collective defense of the countries’ territories,” Komorowski said.

Paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team participate in training exercises with the Polish 6 Airborne Brigade soldiers at the Land Forces Training Centre in Oleszno near Drawsko Pomorskie, north west Poland, May 1, 2014

Russia has decried the increase in NATO troops close to its border as a blatant provocation and accused the organization of fueling violence in Ukraine. Moscow has said it is ready for dialogue with Poroshenko, but has urged the newly elected President to halt the “anti-terror operation” in the east of Ukraine.

“NATO is providing Kiev – a member of its Partnership for Peace program – with technical assistance, thus encouraging the prolongation of its use of force. Thus the Alliance accepts a part of the responsibility for the escalation of the situation, and the collapse of diplomatic negotiations,” said Aleksandr Grushko, Russia’s envoy to NATO.

Thus far the US has deployed 600 troops for military drills in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland.

John Rees, British political analyst and national officer at Stop the War Coalition, told RT the US’ moves were indicative of an “expansionist mood” which could usher in a “dangerous period of interstate rivalry.”

Rees said operation Rapid Trident, a joint US, UK and Ukrainian military drill due to take place next month, could escalate the current crisis even further.

“I cannot think of anything more dangerous in the current circumstances than to have a deployment of UK and US troops alongside Ukrainian troops this summer,” he told RT.

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Investors Bet on Egypt’s Revival Under New Leader

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CAIROEgyptian President-elect Abdel Fattah Al Sisi faces a tangle of economic challenges, but many foreign investors are already betting his arrival heralds better returns after three years of political tumult.

Foreign investment in Egyptian stocks and in private companies has picked up in recent months, buoyed by hopes that the former military chief will bring security and stability after he is inaugurated in the coming days following Tuesday’s announcement of the official vote results. Yet this confidence underscores an increasingly glaring contradiction of Egypt’s economy.

While many investors are rushing into the Arab world’s most populous nation, there are already signs that some are pulling back. That is an indication the rosy climate could turn quickly if Mr. Sisi isn’t able to tackle the government budget deficit, weak currency, a large subsidies bill, double-digit unemployment and other defects that have fed discontent.

Cairo’s main stock index has risen more than 60% since Mr. Sisi deposed Mohammed Morsi, in July 2013. That is higher than before the 2011 uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power, setting off the most volatile period in Egypt since the founding of the republic in 1953.

Another sign of reviving confidence was a $110 million IPO last month by Arabian Cement, the first listing in Egypt since 2010. It was heavily oversubscribed, bringing in $260 million of orders from Western institutional investors, said Hesham Gohar, head of investment banking at CI Capital, an Egyptian firm that helped to arrange the deal.

“These are people who are sophisticated and do the proper due diligence, and they are quite confident about the risks facing Egypt,” Mr. Gohar said.

Private foreign investors have been making further waves in post-Morsi Egypt. Saudi Arabia’s Aujan Coca-Cola KO +0.07% Beverages said in February that it would build a $100 million fruit juice factory in Egypt. Construction Products Holding, a unit of the regional construction giant Saudi Binladin, Co. paid $190 million in May to buy Sphinx Glass and its factory in Sadat City, 60 miles northwest of Cairo.

Faysal Alaquil, Construction Products’ head of business development, said the company wasn’t affected by recent political upheaval and was thinking about a long-term investment. “We see that there will be stability in terms of the political situation and the economy,” he said.

But Mr. Sisi’s ability to sustain the current tide of enthusiasm isn’t ensured. Fuel subsidies that cost the government $17 billion a year, as well as economic policies that have left millions in poverty, pose challenges.

The growth of Egyptian industry is stunted by a shortage of natural gas needed for power plants, cement plants, fertilizer producers, textile factories and other industrial players.

Meanwhile, the government has diverted natural gas and subsidized it for domestic consumption, while falling behind on payments to foreign firms for their energy products, jeopardizing future investment in the energy sector.

BG Group, BG.LN -0.37% a London-listed liquefied natural-gas firm that operates in the eastern Mediterranean, said in a recent earnings release that operations in Egypt were “increasingly at risk” because of diversions of energy to the domestic market and nonpayment by the government. Egypt owed BG Group a total of $1.4 billion at the end of the first quarter, the company said.

Overall, Egypt owes foreign energy firms $5.7 billion.

Other investors like Centamin, CELTF +3.03% a mining company listed in London and Toronto, have faced third-party lawsuits brought after the 2011 rebellion that contest Mubarak-era land grants and privatizations of state assets.

Foreign investors are hoping for some clarity from Mr. Sisi about his economic policies.

Investment thrived under Mr. Mubarak, who in the later years of his nearly three decades in power pursued market-friendly, open-door policies that boosted economic growth, if not raised living standards for most Egyptians.The presumed winner of the election as soon as he hinted at running,

Mr. Sisi never spelled out his economic agenda in detail during the campaign. He hinted in a television interview that he would carve out a larger role for the state, suggesting a break with the Mubarak era and perhaps the revival of some aspects of the socialist policies of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser, with whom Mr. Sisi is fondly compared by his supporters.

Mr. Sisi has also discussed ambitious plans to develop Upper Egypt and other impoverished areas of the country.

Foreign investors, however, are most concerned about the currency, the tax system, repatriation of profits and the new regime’s economic management—details of which still remain unclear.

A further decline in the Egyptian pound, which recently has been trading at all-time lows, would mean foreigners get less money in dollar terms when they liquidate assets in pounds.

The Finance Ministry’s plan to levy a 10% capital-gains tax on foreign stock-market investors raised more eyebrows. Cairo’s main index fell by more than 4% on Sunday, and trading was briefly suspended.

“I think if [Mr. Sisi] can solve the security issues and general unrest and bring back stability, that’s going a long way to restoring confidence,” said Ahmed Badreldin, a partner at the private-equity firm Abraaj Group, which has investments in Egypt’s health and education sectors.

“It’s a confidence game. If confidence comes back, you will see businessmen coming back and investment coming back, and you will see demand rising again.”

via Investors Bet on Egypt’s Revival Under New Leader – WSJ.

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Egypt Seals Famed Tahrir Square Ahead Poll Results

Abdulfattah el-Sisi has won over 94 per vent of votes in Egypt's presidential election

Abdulfattah el-Sisi has won over 94 per vent of votes in Egypt’s presidential election

Security forces in Egypt have sealed off Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square, hours ahead of results being announced in the country’s first presidential election after the ouster of Morsi.

Celebrations are expected to follow the announcement in Tahrir Square, After the results are released Tuesday night, el-Sissi is expected to be sworn in before Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.

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Heavy Turnout as Syrians Flock to Election Centers to Choose President

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Presidential elections kicked off early on Tuesday as Syrians flock to voting centers across the country.

It is Syria’s first multi-candidate election, based on the new Constitution of Syria which was endorsed in 2012.

The interior ministry said that the number of the election centers in all Syrian provinces is 9601, and they include 11776 ballot boxes.

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Three candidates are: Maher Abdel-Hafiz Hajjar, Hassan Abdullah al-Nouri and Bashar al-Assad are competing in the presidential elections after the Supreme Judicial Court accepted their applications to run for the post of president on May 10.

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Al-Manar correspondent across Syria reported high participation in the crucial elections which will decide who will be Syria’s president for the next seven years.

Our correspondent in Damascus said that citizens came early to cast ballots amid tightened security measures.

President and candidate Bashar al-Assad as well as his wife Asmaa also participated in the elections, casting their ballots in one of the polling stations in Damascus.

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In Aleppo, the correspondent reported that there were checkpoints near the elections centers in order to guarantee the safety of the citizens who want to vote. The correspondent also noted that voting centers are in safe areas.

Meanwhile in Qalamoun and Lattakia Syrians flock to election centers, our correspondent said, noting that the participation was high in these provinces.

almanar TV

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