Iran sets June 18 as date for next presidential election

Candidates hoping to run in the balloting are to apply in early April for approval; the final list is to be announced in early June. (File/AFP)
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Updated 24 August 2020

Iran sets June 18 as date for next presidential election

  • Rouhani was first elected in 2013 and reelected four years later
  • Under Iranian law, an incumbent president cannot run for a third term if he has already served for two consecutive terms in office

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s constitutional watchdog on Monday set June 18 as date for the country’s next presidential election, a vote that will choose the successor to President Hassan Rouhani who has served two four-year terms in office.
The watchdog, the Guardian Council, approved the date, Iranian election headquarters chief Jamal Orf told the official IRNA news agency. Candidates hoping to run in the balloting are to apply in early April for approval; the final list is to be announced in early June.
Under Iranian law, an incumbent president cannot run for a third term if he has already served for two consecutive terms in office. Rouhani was first elected in 2013 and reelected four years later.
Rouhani has been under increasing pressure from the US sanctions since President Donald Trump two years ago pulled America out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. The deal curbed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Trump also imposed severe sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into a downward spiral. Iran is now grappling also with the Trump administration’s push to impose so-called “snapback” sanctions over what Washington says is Iran’s violation of the nuclear deal.
In February, Iran held parliamentary elections that saw a turnout of 42.57% — the lowest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and a sign of widespread dissatisfaction and the state of the economy amid intense US pressure. The newly elected house is dominated by conservative lawmakers.
Iran is also facing the Mideast region’s largest and deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus, with over 358,000 registered cases, including 20,643 deaths.


Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

Updated 25 November 2020

Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

  • The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz

CAIRO: The second Egyptian Aragouz Festival has opened on Nov. 24, at the ancient Bayt Al-Sinnari, in Cairo. The aragouz is a traditional puppet figure dressed in red invented by Egyptians to ridicule situations comically.

Khaled Bahgat, a professor of theater at Helwan University and the founder of the festival and the Wamda Troupe for Aragouz and Shadow Puppets, said the festival is part of the initiative to preserve the Egyptian aragouz, after it was recognized by UNESCO in 2018 as one of the most important Egyptian artistic elements. He said that he wants the Egyptian art of aragouz to reach the world because it is an ancient Egyptian art.

The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz.

The festival opened with a tribute to the great Egyptian creator Abu Al-Saud Al-Abyari in a reading of his story “Aragouz, Author and Idea,” which he published in 1953. Al-Aragouz was an important source of creativity for Al-Abyari.

The reading was followed by entries exploring how the art of aragouz shaped Egyptian comedy in the twentieth century.

The day closed with puppet performances of “The social media aragouz,” which reflected the impact of social media, directed by Ali Abu Zeid, and “The aragouz in the city,” directed by Nabil Bahgat.

On the second day, Reem Heggab will honor her father the late Egyptian poet Said Heggab, reciting one of his poems on the aragouz. This will be followed by two aragouz shows, “The Take Away,” directed by Mahmoud Sayed Hanafi, and “Aragouz, the Land of Myths.”

On Thursday, the theater department of the University of Alexandria will celebrate the aragouz with a lecture by Hany Abou El-Hassan, the head of the department, a workshop and a performance titled “Lorca and the aragouz,” directed by Nabil Bahgat and presented by the Wamda Troupe.

The performance honors the creativity of the Spanish poet and innovator Federico García Lorca, and will be held in the presence of the Spanish cultural attache.

The fourth day of the festival will honor the poet Fouad Haddad, whose son Amin Haddad will recite several poems from his father’s book of poetry entitiled Al-Aragouz. The poetry reading will be followed by a discussion.

Then there will be performances of “Aragouz Al Sima,” directed by Mustafa Al-Sabbagh, and “Al-Aragouz in Danger,” which deals with the greatest challenges facing the art of aragouz.

On the last day, the Faculty of Arts at Helwan University and the Department of Theater Sciences’ troupe will hold an open seminar with the department’s students to discuss ways to preserve the Egyptian aragouz.