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Arabic press review: Sisi poll-axed, but it's party time for Ben Ali

Tunisian party plans to make former president Ben Ali its 'chairman in exile', while poll shows Egyptians want Sisi exiled from his palace
Sisi's rather unpopular, according to Russian state television channel RT Arabic (AFP)

Sisi, or no-no? 

Egyptians don't want Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as president for a second term, according to Twitter opinion poll by the Russian state-backed television station, RT Arabic.

About two thirds (69 percent) of the 48,000 respondents said Sisi should not remain as president, compared to 31 percent who said he should.

Twitter polls have no scientific sampling methods.

Egypt is to hold a presidential election in March. Sisi announced his campaign last week. His rival, Ahmed Shafiq, pulled his bid earlier this month saying his five years in exile had distanced him from Egypt.

Translation: Do you support the candidacy of Sisi for a second term?

Party time for Ben Ali

A Tunisian political leader has declared his party will soon announce the appointment of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as its chairman, according to the London-based newspaper, al-Quds al-Arabi.

Shukri al-Balti, the head of the Socialist Destourian Party, called on former members of Ben Ali's party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally, to join up.

Balti said his party was "completing procedures to declare Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as head of the party in exile".

Ben Ali currently lives in Jeddah at the pleasure of Saudi authorities.

The newspaper quoted Balti saying that "it is a shame that Ben Ali continues to live far away in exile".

Ben Ali and family (AFP)

All eyes on Lebanon

Lebanon's interior minister has appeared to confirm reports indicating Lebanese authorities have carried out "electronic spying" acts on smartphones and internet use.

However, Nohad Machnouk said the reports included "exaggerations", according to the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

Asharq al-Awsat quoted Machnouk as saying that "the supreme council of defence, which held a meeting at the Baabda Palace, discussed the subject of the report which said that Lebanese public security launched a campaign of espionage using false copies of Whatsapp, Telegram and Signal to permeate smartphones."

The general directorate of general security in Lebanon has conducted more than 10 campaigns since 2012 targeting users of Android phones in at least 21 countries, said researchers at Outlook and Electronic Frontier in a joint statement.

Billions for Syrians

Jordan is facing a bill of $7.3bn over the next three years to pay for Syrian refugees within its borders, according to a draft document seen by the Jordanian newspaper, al-Ghad.

The draft said $2.48bn was needed to cover this year alone.

According to the document, Jordan is currently hosting more than 1.3 million Syrians, 655,000 of whom are registered with the UN and are facing further shortages in their savings and resources.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

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