The first presidential debate in the History of the Arab World is over. While analysts and pollers are still mesuring the reactions of the population, here you have five points I would like to stress about it:
1.-No clear winner: Given the fact that there is no historical precedent of this kind of debates and how Egyptians react to them, it is not clear how it will affect the race. In addition, neither Moussa nor Aboulfotouh did remarkably better than the other
2.-Looking at the past, rathen than the future: Both candidates were much more interested in discussing each other’s past -often misrepresenting them- rather than the future of Egypt. It seems that this will be the narrative of the campaign, focused more on the candidates’ personality and background than on the political platforms.
3.-A marathon rather than a debate: The debate was way to long. Trying to cash as much money as possible, the TV channels broadcasting it anounced the start at 7,30, but it did not really begin until 9,30. Partly because of long breaks for commercials, the debate finished at 2,05. At that point, even the most politicizes Egyptians were tired and falling asleep.
4.-The hot fighter versus the cool professor: Moussa came up as an aggressive debater, using a sharper tone to attack the adversary and looking theatrical. While Aboulfotouh did not precisely avoid to engage in the combat, his tone was cooler, closer to that of a professor. Which one will sit better with Egyptian viewers?
5.-No big policy differences: Whether on economic, education and health policies, or even on the relations with Israel, there were no big differences between the proposals laid by both opponents. Moussa and Aboulfotouh have centrist platforms, and the main difference between them is the role of Islam and the attitude towards the SCAF, the Military Junta.