Government-backed incumbent Makram Mohamed Ahmed was reelected head of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate Sunday after beating independent candidate Diaa Rashwan, known for opposing the transfer of power from President Hosni Mubarak to his son, Gamal.
Following the vote, Mohamed el-Sayed, head of the judicial committee mandated with overseeing elections, announced that Ahmed had received 2419 votes to Rashwan’s 1561 in a run-off vote following a first round on 6 December in which both candidates failed to secure an absolute majority.
Independent observers attribute Ahmed’s landslide victory to the state’s strategy of mobilizing hundreds of journalists at government-funded newspapers through a combination of vote buying and intimidation.
In the first round, Ahmed had received 1497 votes to Rashwan’s 1458.
Rashwan, 49, an expert on political Islam at the semi-official Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, has been a vocal opponent of the notion of father-to-son presidential succession–a widely anticipated scenario in Egypt.
Ahmed, 74, was first elected to the syndicate board in 1968. Since then, he has held several senior positions at leading official publications, such as flagship government daily Al-Ahram and weekly magazine Al-Mussawer, serving as editor-in-chief of the latter for more than 20 years.