El-Balshy received 2,443 votes while the other prominent candidate for the post of chairman Khaled Meiri, editor-in-chief of the daily Al-Akhbar, got 2,211 votes.
El-Balshy is the current editor-in-chief of the leftist online publication Darb. He also was a member of the Syndicate board and a former head of its Freedoms Committee.
Earlier, El-Balshy was the editor-in-chief of Al-Badeel newspaper.
His campaign focused on regaining what he said was the syndicate and journalists’ independence from the government and entities monopolising the media. Al-Balshi said his campaign’s main objective was to free Egypt’s press industry from the grip of monopolistic powers and recapture the syndicate’s independence and freedom.
“As long as we beg for financial help from the government, we will remain lacking independence and freedom,” El-Balshy said.
He also deplored that “a beginner journalist’s salary is as low as $38 a month, then goes up to $170 only at the age of retirement, or after 30 years. This is completely unfair for a journalist who served 30 years in one publication. I think we all agree that salaries and pensions should be increased commensurate with the inflation rate so that journalists can bear the high cost of living,” El-Balshy said.
Eleven journalists were seeking chairmanship including El Balshy, while 40 candidates were competing for the board’s six contested seats.
He added that last week that he submitted a written request to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly demanding that the syndicate’s financial allowance be increased by 40 per cent in line with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s new package of social support measures, including wage hikes, pension increases, and tax breaks, and in line with the Central Bank of Egypt’s recent core inflation figures showing that inflation jumped as high as 40 per cent in February.
The elections were fully run and supervised by a judicial committee, with its members belonging to the Administrative Prosecution Authority. The syndicate’s general assembly, led by former Chairman Diaa Rashwan, also formed a committee to monitor the ballot.
The general assembly of the syndicate also took a number of decisions in its meeting following the elections on Friday in Cairo including the renewal of its rejection of naturalisation of relations with Israel, its call for issuing a freedom of information act and its demand for the release of imprisoned and detained journalists.