Egypt presidential election candidates in first TV debate

Yolande Knell By Yolande Knell BBC News, Cairo

Egypt set to hold its first-ever live debate between presidential candidates.

It features the two expected front-runners in the presidential vote later this month – former Arab League head Amr Moussa and moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh.

Millions of Egyptians are expected to tune into the debate, which is being broadcast on two popular private TV networks.

The first round of voting is to be held on 23 and 24 May.

If no candidate wins an absolute majority in this round, a run-off will be held in June.

It is hoped that this will be Egypt’s first free and fair election for the presidency.

Several opinion polls suggest that Mr. Moussa and Mr. Aboul Fotouh are leading the race.

Already, that has led them to attack each other on the campaign trail.

Mr. Moussa has called his rival a “sheikh” – a reference to Mr. Aboul Fotouh’s background as a former senior member of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

In turn, Mr. Aboul Fotouh has described the former foreign minister as part of an old guard that is unfit to lead.

As yet, many voters say they are undecided about whom to support. This debate could help them make up their minds.

Close scrutiny

However, it also poses a high risk for the candidates, with every remark they make likely to be closely scrutinized.

The debate will be carried on both Egypt’s ONTV and Dream channels as part of special programming beginning at 19:30 (17:30 GMT).

It will be moderated by well-known TV presenters Yusri Fuda and Mona al-Shazly.

According to the two privately-owned newspapers which are co-sponsoring the event, it will be divided into two parts.

The first will consider the constitution and the president’s powers, according to the dailies, al-Masri al-Yowm and al-Shourouk. The second will cover the candidates’ electoral platforms, the judiciary, security and other issues.

Each candidate will be given two minutes to answer each question, and will be allowed to comment on the answers of his rival.

The debate was originally scheduled to take place on 3 May, but it was postponed because of clashes outside the defense ministry in Cairo, in which at least 11 people were killed and dozens injured.



Posted by on May 18 2012. Filed under African News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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