Such as in Egypt, where a rather monumental event took place yesterday: the Arab world’s first-ever live, televised presidential debate.
Two weeks before the scheduled May 23 start of the election to choose the first president since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood campaigning as a liberal Islamist, faced Amr Moussa, a popular former diplomat campaigning as the stable alternative to an “experiment” in Islamist rule.
Mr. Moussa, 75 and a more confident debater, was far more aggressive than Mr. Aboul Fotouh, 60. But neither candidate delivered a knockout punch as the debate turned repeatedly to the polarizing question of the status of Islam in governance.
Big moment for Egypt and Egyptians, and it’s worth noting how much more seriously they probably take their debates than we do with our reality-TV-show Republican primary debates.
I also must submit the following as perhaps the least inspiring debate line of all time:
Both candidates were also asked about the “virginity tests” that soldiers forced on detained female protesters. “I call on each of our daughters who suffered such an insult or other insults, to immediately file a report about it,” Mr. Aboul Fotouh said.
In both candidates’ defense, this would still put their women’s rights stances on roughly equal footing with those of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
- First Egyptian Presidential Debate (worldviewtonight.com)
- Egypt presidential rivals pledge to review Israel peace treaty in historic TV debate (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
- Ad Wars Ahead of Egyptian Presidential Vote (thelede.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Moussa, Abul Fotouh face-to-face in Egypt’s 1st ever presidential candidate debate (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Egypt front-runners face their pasts on campaign trail (dailystar.com.lb)