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President Mohamed Morsy has only been in office for one week, but he has made a seemingly bold move to challenge the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces — which still holds more power than him — by calling for the dissolved Parliament to reconvene.
“Morsy to the army: Checkmate,” privately owned newspaper Al-Watan’s headline reads.
The Freedom and Justice Party paper says: “The president is victorious for the people,” a play on the word “people” in Arabic, which also refers to the People’s Assembly, the lower house of Parliament.
Freedom and Justice is the party paper of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Islamist movement from which the president hails.
Last month, a Supreme Constitutional Court ruling dissolved Parliament, deeming one-third of the seats unconstitutional.
The president’s decision calls for parliamentary elections to take place 60 days, after a new constitution is in place and a new law for Parliament is passed.
Privately owned Al-Shorouk quotes Mohamed Fouad Gadallah, a legal adviser to Morsy, as saying the decision is “sound and follows legal and constitutional principles.” It also reports that the SCAF convened until late last night to discuss Morsy’s decision.
Thousands gathered in Tahrir Square yesterday to celebrate the move after the FJP’s Facebook page called on its supporters to do so. In the governorates, various political party members received the news with mixed reactions, though, according to Al-Shorouk. While Islamists hailed it as a victory, the liberal Free Egyptians Party was apparently deeply upset by the decision, saying it is illegitimate.
State-owned Al-Akhbar newspaper also reports on the various political parties’ reactions. Liberal party paper Al-Wafd says “the country is entering into a phase of confrontation between authorities, and Parliament will be a place of popular and legal disputes.”
It remains to be seen how this apparent showdown with the military will develop, given that a constitutional amendment issued by the army last month removed any legislative power from the president.
Also, it should become clearer over the next few days whether this really is a confrontation with the military, as Morsy is attending a military graduation ceremony Monday and has been seen jovially standing by the side of SCAF head Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
Al-Akhbar takes the question of a supposed confrontation between the army and Brotherhood further on page 11, saying that four main issues face president: a battle with Salafis over the issue of Sharia in the constitution, the vice presidency, a crisis with opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei and the revolutionary youth over various promises, and a battle with the deep state.
In other presidential news, Morsy received US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on Sunday with a message from US President Barack Obama, which stressed the importance of an elected Parliament and a constitution that protects human rights. Morsy has been invited to the US for a meeting with Obama in September.
Privately owned Al-Tahrir newspaper frames the Burns visit with the timing of Morsy’s decision on Parliament to suggest one might have had influence over the other. “The decision came after a meeting with Obama’s aide that called for an elected Parliament,” one of its front-page headlines reads.
The formation of the Cabinet and the appointment of a new prime minister are ongoing. Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader and businessman Khairat al-Shater, widely understood to be the real power behind Morsy, is said to be a favorite candidate of the group.
Unnamed Muslim Brotherhood sources tell Al-Shorouk that the person they are looking for to take the prime minister post must have strong knowledge of the economy and be experienced in running state affairs. Hazem al-Beblawy, a former finance minister who is not a member of the Brotherhood, is also being considered for the post, according to the paper. Central Bank of Egypt Governor Farouk al-Oqda has also been suggested, though the report seems to dismiss this as a genuine possibility because of his commitments at the central bank.
Privately owned Youm7, along with other papers, reports on the burning of pictures of Morsy outside the presidential palace yesterday by rights lawyers who demand an end to the issue of nepotism and inheriting positions in judicial authorities.
Youm7 also leads with an exclusive story about whether the Brotherhood’s Shater has bought the newspaper. On pages nine to 11, the paper dispels this myth, saying he does not own the paper and that the rumor was begun by those “tired from our success.”
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned
Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party
Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party