PARAGRAPH, WORDS AND MEANING

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PARAGRAPH, WORDS AND MEANING

PARAGRAPH OF THE DAY –

No surprises in Egypt’s election –

Egypt’s election last week was democratic only in name. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a former general who had ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013, was never expected to struggle to secure a second term. Though the official result is yet to be announced, a landslide victory has been a certainty all along. Given the military backlash against the 2011 upsurge in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that ended Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade dictatorship, a genuinely popular exercise of the ballot was never on the cards. The vote was effectively rendered a one-horse race involving Mr. Sisi, as a number of opposition candidates were forced to withdraw from the contest. His lone challenger, a late entrant thrust forward to save the government from embarrassment, was someone who had declared himself a staunch supporter of the President’s bid for re-election. Public perception of the charademanaged to find some expression in both the mainstream and social media. But overall, the government’s close monitoring of content that it deemed contrary to the “national interest” ensured that the election was anything but a democratic and informed exercise of the popular will. This is not to deny Mr. Sisi’s support base — he has one and it is made up of sections of Egyptian society that prize the country’s stability above all else after the tumultuousyears of transition following the Arab Spring. Nonetheless, reports of the administration’s exhortations to voters to exercise their franchise is an indication of the widespread cynicism about the entire electoral process. With the election over, the Egyptian establishment will be conscious that the conditions that yielded the mass protests of 2011 still obtain, particularly economic hardship and political repression. The 2016 devaluation of the currency and roll-back of energy subsidies, in return for a hefty loan from the International Monetary Fund, deepened the squeeze. Inflation and the accompanying rise in the cost of borrowing are taking a toll on ordinary people as well as businesses. Meanwhile, two recent developments illustrate the continuing stranglehold of the old order on Egyptian institutions. The first is the 2017 acquittal of Mr. Mubarak in a highly controversial trial relating to the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 18-day uprising. The other is the lengthy sentences slapped last year on protesters who opposed the ouster of Mohamed Morsi as President in 2013. If Egypt is to move on from the fire-fighting phase it is gripped by, in his new term Mr. Sisi must move towards greater transparency and accountability. Restoration of basic democratic freedoms and respect for the opposition are critical for this. As the largest country in the Arab world, Egypt must set an example for the region.

 WORDS AND MEANING –

Ousted

Meaning: Drive out or expel (someone) from a position or place.

Example: “the reformists were ousted from power”

Synonyms: Expel, Remove

Landslide

Meaning: An overwhelming majority of votes for one party or candidate in an election.

Example: “they won by a landslide”

Synonyms: Game, Set

Antonyms: Hung Parliament

Backlash

Meaning: A strong negative reaction by a large number of people, especially to a social or political development.

Example: “a public backlash against racism”

Synonyms: Comeback, Recoil

Upsurge

Meaning: An upward surge in the strength or quantity of something; an increase.

Example: “an upsurge in vandalism and violent crime”

Dictatorship

Meaning: A country governed by a dictator.

Example: “the party was seeking to establish a dictatorship”

Synonyms: Autocracy, Monocracy

Antonyms: Democracy

Rendered

Meaning: Provide or give (a service, help, etc.).

Example: “money serves as a reward for services rendered”

Synonyms: Give, Provide

Entrant

Meaning: A person or group that enters or takes part in something.

Example: “the prize will be awarded to the entrant who wins the tiebreak”

Synonyms: Beginner, Fresher

Antonyms: Veteran

Embarrassment

Meaning: Financial difficulty.

Example: “his temporary financial embarrassment”

Synonyms: Difficulty, Problem

Staunch

Meaning: Very loyal and committed in attitude.

Example: “a staunch supporter of the anti-nuclear lobby”

Synonyms: Loyal, Committed

Antonyms: Disloyal, Unfaithful

Perception

Meaning: Intuitive understanding and insight.

Example: “‘He wouldn’t have accepted,’ said my mother with unusual perception”

Synonyms: Insight, Percipience

Charade

Meaning: An absurd pretence intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance.

Example: “talk of unity was nothing more than a charade”

Synonyms: Farce, Travesty

Deemed

Meaning: Regard or consider in a specified way.

Example: “the event was deemed a great success”

Synonyms: Consider, Judge

Tumultuous

Meaning: Excited, confused, or disorderly.

Example: “a tumultuous crowd”

Synonyms: Stormy, Turbulent

Antonyms: Peaceful, Uneventful

Exhortations

Meaning: An address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something.

Example: “exhortations to consumers to switch off electrical appliances”

Synonyms: Urging, Persuasion

Antonyms: Discouragement

Franchise

Meaning: The right to vote in an election, especially in order to elect a parliament or similar law-making organization.

Example: American women worked for decades to win the franchise.

Cynicism

Meaning: An inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; scepticism.

Example: “public cynicism about politics”

Synonyms: Distrust, Doubt

Antonyms: Optimism

Conscious

Meaning: (of an action or feeling) deliberate and intentional.

Example: “a conscious effort to walk properly”

Synonyms: Deliberate, Intentional

Repression

Meaning: The action of subduing someone or something by force.

Example: “students sparked off events that ended in brutal repression”

Synonyms: Suppression, Restraint

Antonyms: Freedom, Liberty

Roll-back

Meaning: A reduction of prices, costs, taxes, etc., especially so that they return to a previous level.

Example: Councilman Sanchez is planning to propose a rollback in the tax rate.

Squeeze

Meaning: A strong financial demand or pressure, typically a restriction on borrowing, spending, or investment in a financial crisis.

Example: “industry faced higher costs and a squeeze on profits”

Illustrate

Meaning: Explain or make (something) clear by using examples, charts, pictures, etc.

Example: “the results are illustrated in Figure 7”

Synonyms: Explain, Clarify

Stranglehold

Meaning: Complete or overwhelming control.

Example: “in France, supermarkets have less of a stranglehold on food supplies”

Uprising

Meaning: An act of resistance or rebellion; a revolt.

Example: “an armed uprising”

Synonyms: Rebellion, Revolt

Ouster

Meaning: To force someone to leave a position of power, job, place, or competition.

Example: The president was ousted (from power) in a military coup in January 1987.

Fire-fighting

Meaning: Spending time on problems that need to be dealt with quickly, instead of working in a calm, planned way.

Example: I spend all my time firefighting rather than making any progress.

Accountability

Meaning: The fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.

Example: “lack of accountability has corroded public respect for business and political leaders”

Synonyms: Responsibility, Liability