Egypt union poll heads for runoff

Egypt's journalists association has said it will conduct a runoff election after no clear winner emerged for a new chairman at one of the few professional groups in the country still free of Islamist influence.

    Galal Aref, the Journalists' Union chairman, seeks re-election

    Electoral officials on Sunday said none of the 11 contenders received the minimum 50% plus one vote needed to win and become head of the powerful Journalists' Union.

    The union has increasingly become politicised, hosting a number of pro-reform rallies before Egypt's 7 September first contested presidential poll.

    Groups such as the Kefaya (Enough) movement frequently staged protests in front of the union building demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 24-year rule and other similar groups used the premises for seminars.

    Incumbent union boss Galal Aref from the Akhbar al-Yom publishing house and fellow candidate Ibrahim Hegazi from the al-Ahram publishing house emerged as the frontrunners and will face each other in a runoff vote on Thursday.

    Ibrahim Hegazi was one of two 
    frontrunners in the union vote

    Many of the candidates had campaigned on a platform promising to hasten the abrogation of a 1995 press law that journalists said turned them into criminals because of the prison terms it prescribed for libel.

    They also pledged to campaign against other laws they argue restrict freedom of the press in a country where there are only few independent newspapers and the state has absolute control over the airwaves.

    More than 3000 journalists participated in the election.

    Muslim Brotherhood

    The banned but tolerated Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies took control of the country's powerful professional unions through elections in the mid-1990s and the state responded by disbanding those unions.

    They included the Lawyers' Syndicate and the Engineers' Syndicate.

    The government considered this an attempt by the Brotherhood to gain legitimacy through the back door, and parliament later passed a law that was primarily aimed at limiting Brotherhood gains in the future.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.