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Amr Moussa holds a lead in the presidential race so far, according to government-run newspaper Al-Ahram, party paper Al-Wafd and privately owned Al-Watan. Newspapers focus Monday on the upcoming election, scheduled for 23 and 24 May.
Polls of Egyptians abroad show the former Arab League chief taking the lead, with the support of 40.8 percent of poll participants. Mubarak-era Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq follows with 19.9 percent, then former Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh with 17.8 percent and Brotherhood nominee Mohamed Morsy with 9.4 percent.
An Al-Watan poll conducted by the newspaper showed Moussa leading by 42 percent, followed by Abouel Fotouh with 22 percent and Shafiq in third with 20 percent. Leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi came in fourth with 10 percent and Morsy followed, with a mere 6 percent.
Al-Watan also reports that expat turnout is highest in Saudi Arabia, while it is lowest in the US, with a turnout of only 400 voters so far. The expat vote will continue until 17 May.
More stories on the election include Al-Ahram’s top story on preparations for the poll, with the government setting up transportation and accommodations for judges and committees in charge of the election to ensure the integrity of the process.
Independent Al-Shorouk newspaper dedicated its sixth page to the election and has two stories on the bottom concerning candidate Ahmed Shafiq. One has a leading Sufi sheikh denying his endorsement of Shafiq or any candidate, saying the Sufi orders in Egypt have yet to convene and decide on whom to endorse. The second story has Shafiq giving his controversial opinions on his opponents, saying Abouel Fotouh should simply go back to distributing blankets, and Mohamed Morsy should go back to teaching in college, in response to Morsy’s remark that the military should remain at the borders to protect them.
Fahmy al-Howaidy writes in a column in Al-Shorouk about his experience watching the presidential debate last week while he was in Turkey attending a conference, talking about the reactions from representatives of different African and Arab countries, with African countries such as Malawi saying if the elections in Egypt succeed in ridding the country of military rule, the people of Malawi will be inspired to continue their own pursuit of freedom. He continues to cite many other countries in the region and describes how the echo of the presidential debate was extremely loud, and that Africans and Arabs alike hang their hopes on Egypt’s success on events such as these.
Independent Al-Mesryoon dedicated a two-page spread to how and whom the candidates would support as defense minister if they win the race. Abouel Fotouh would appoint the candidate himself and prefers a civil candidate. Tagammu Party candidate Hesham al-Bastawisi would consult with the military and choose a military candidate. Shafiq would use his military background to choose a minister on his own. Islamist candidate Mohamed Selim al-Awa would consult with the army to choose a civil candidate, and Morsy would choose a military candidate. Moussa, based on his debate with Abouel Fotouh, would appoint a minister himself.
Lead headlines in Al-Wafd describe People’s Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny’s referral of Shafiq to the prosecution after MP Essam Sultan officially reported him for violations in illegally selling land to Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, the former president’s sons, as the Brotherhood’s use of Parliament to promote support for Morsy.
In Al-Ahram, Osama al-Ghazaly Harb writes a column on allegations that Brotherhood party Freedom and Justice has medical caravans that have been performing female circumcision, which is illegal in Egypt. He discusses statements by MP Azza al-Garf on what she calls the benefits of female circumcision.
Al-Shorouk also reports on the allegations, saying there have been two reports of such caravans, but that both have no solid proof this is actually happening. The FJP secretary general in Minya, Deya Eddin al-Moghazy, denied the allegations, and said that “the rumor has been repeated twice in a month, even though there are members from local units and health centers in the caravans to supervise the activities.”
In parliamentary news, Al-Ahram reports that Parliament has agreed to increase police salaries and to cancel their transfer to military trials, instead calling for disciplinary committees for the police. Parliament also called for the release of students who were arrested in the Abbasseya clashes at the Defense Ministry earlier this month. A small box says Parliament congratulates the Cabinet on the return of confidence, which it granted to the ministers after a small reshuffle.
Al-Watan leads with a preliminary formation of the Constitutional Assembly, which, according to the paper, would consist of 20 to 30 MPs. Parties that are not in Parliament would have a minimum of one member in the assembly. Religious figures would include six from Al-Azhar, Dar al-Ifta and the Sufi orders, and four from Coptic churches. There would also be a representation of women of no more than 10 members. Legal representatives and constitutional experts would comprise no less than 20 percent of the committee.
Al-Shorouk also reports on the Agriculture Minister Mohamed Reda Ismail’s press conference in which he stated that Sinai residents would gain control over the land with the condition that inheritance should only be for Egyptians, and that it would be illegal to sell land to foreigners. The paper says this is a bid to protect land from Jewish investors.
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