Egypt's election commission has declared former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi the country's new president. According to election officials, Sisi won the presidential election with 96.91 percent of votes. However, the official turnout was 47.45 percent, which was far less than the 74 percent Sisi was hoping to reach. In a televised address after the announcement, Sisi thanked his supporters and said it was now "time to work." Thousands of Sisi supporters gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate. The Muslim Brotherhood denounced the election calling it "the election of blood" and liberal and secular activists, including the April 6 movement, dismissed the polling. The United States and Britain said they look forward to working with Sisi, though the United States expressed concern over the "restrictive political environment" in which polling was held and urged the new president to carry out human rights reforms.
Election officials began counting votes in Syria's presidential election after polls closed at midnight. President Bashar al-Assad faces two opponents but he is widely expected to win a third term. Iranian officials are celebrating his anticipated win calling it a defeat for the United States and praising Iran's role in keeping Assad in power. Meanwhile, in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour Tuesday, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said he could no longer "defend the American policy" on Syria.
- Three people were killed in a suicide car bombing targeting former Libyan General Khalifa Heftar in Benghazi, though Heftar survived the attack.
- Saudi Arabia has raised the death toll from the Mers virus to 282 after a review showed nearly 100 cases needed to be added.
- Turkey lifted a two-month ban on YouTube Tuesday though Prime Minister Erdogan continued to blast the international media calling a recently detained CNN correspondent a foreign agent.
- The EU is pushing Iran to accelerate its cooperation with the IAEA as analysts and diplomats say it is unlikely that world powers and Iran will meet the July 20 deadline to negotiate a final nuclear deal.
Arguments and Analysis
'If Assad wins, what does that say about the opposition' (Hassan Hassan, The National)
"Politically speaking, holding the election is a chance for the regime to consolidate its gains, reaffirm that it has the upper hand in the conflict and to contrast reality under the regime with that under extremists in rebel-held areas. In that sense, the election will help the regime to solidify its position at least in areas under its control.
Regardless of the merits of the election, the episode has highlighted deep polarisation, with people from the same country looking like they live in parallel universes. The opposition has the right to lament how fellow Syrians forget all the atrocities committed by the president and cheerfully celebrate him.
But a significant part of these celebrations is essentially a defiant response to the opposition's failure to provide an alternative."
'Cleaning House in Tehran' (Reza H. Akbari, The Majalla)
"Rouhani has certainly attempted to stay true to his promises by taking some crucial steps towards lifting the international sanctions, implementing a more rational distribution of public subsidies, and increasing the purchasing power of Iranian households. However, major problems remain.
Rouhani demonstrated his willingness to address the country's weak economy during the first days of his presidency by announcing his decision to revive the Management and Planning Organization, a relatively independent institution responsible for preparing the country's budget, which was dissolved by Ahmadinejad in 2007. Iran's most qualified and brightest economists are back at work, but tackling deep-rooted and widespread financial corruption takes more than patience and audacity."
'An IMF Program for Egypt Finally?' (Mohsin Khan, Atlantic Council)
"It would be advisable in the very early days of the Sisi regime for Egypt to send a message to its population and the international capital markets that it is serious about putting its economic house in order. What better way to do this than to start negotiations with the IMF for a program? Aside from the signaling aspect, the program would bring in at least $5-6 billion in IMF financing on very favorable terms. Moreover, there would be additional financing from the European Union and other international institutions whose funding has been conditional on Egypt having an IMF program."
-- Mary Casey
MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images