Hours before nearly 6,000 journalists head to the polls, the streets of downtown Cairo — where the headquarters of most private and state newspapers are situated — are filled with posters bearing the faces of candidates.
Friday’s Journalists Syndicate elections will determine the new head of a syndicate that has arguably the strongest impact on public opinion, as well as six of its 12 board members.
The elections should have taken place next October 2013, according to a law that states that the syndicate elections must be held every two years. But strident discord between the Brotherhood-backed CEO of state-run Al-Ahram newspaper, Mamdouh al-Wali, and the rest of the leftist-leaning board have rendered the body virtually dysfunctional. Syndicate members demanded early elections.
Observers say that after failing to control the syndicate through a Brotherhood-friendly chairman, the Brothers are likely to back a state-affiliated candidate who has a demonstrated history of aligning himself with the regime.
The frontrunners for post are Abdel Mohsen Salama, managing editor of Al-Ahram newspaper, and Diaa Rashwan, the head of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic studies.
“Wali won the last elections because he belongs to Al-Ahram, but now with the two candidates closest to the seat being sons of the institution, the Brotherhood is more likely to prefer Salama — he is one of the journalists who belong to the state by nature,” claims journalist Khaled Al-Balshy, who is running for one of the board seats.
“Today, the Brotherhood is the state,” he added. (Egypt independent)