- Life Style
Egypt's daily papers Wednesday focus their coverage on three main developments — a court ruling against the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly, the ongoing controversies surrounding the presidential nominations of Salafi candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and the Muslim Brotherhood's Khairat al-Shater, and parliamentary initiatives to keep former Mubarak deputy Omar Suleiman from running in the presidential elections.
"Court rules against Brotherhood's assembly, liberating it from their domination ... Will the Brotherhood abide by the verdict?" questions the independent Al-Tahrir newspaper.
"Judiciary liberates Constituent Assembly from the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip," reads the main headline in party paper Al-Wafd. The subhead in this liberal opposition paper reads, "Court sides with the national will of the people, confirms the illegitimacy of assembly's makeup."
The buzz follows a Cairo Administrative Court ruling Tuesday that the 100-member constitution-drafting panel appointed by People's Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny — a leading figure within the Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party — was illegitimately appointed. Katatny and other Islamists defend their appointment of 50 MPs and many Islamists, arguing that the assembly should be composed of the majority parties that were elected to the upper and lower houses of Parliament — namely representatives of the FJP and Salafis.
This hegemony of Islamists led numerous Constituent Assembly members to walk in protest, from liberal figures to representatives from Al-Azhar, to Copts and others.
"Historic verdict from the Administrative Court nullifying Constituent Assembly," reads the top headline of the independent Al-Dostour Newspaper, along with, "Cancellation of assembly's appointments from upper and lower houses of Parliament."
According to legal and judicial sources cited in Al-Dostour, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which acts as the country's interim executive power, must: issue a decree for formation of a new constitutional assembly with new members from outside of Parliament, guarantee the assembly represents all sectors of society, and refer the constitutional draft to the electorate, which should vote on it via referendum in keeping with the standards of international customary law.
"Makeup of Constituent Assembly is null and void," reads the top headline in the independent Al-Shorouk.
Al-Akhbar runs front-page headlines reading, “Historic verdict ceases appointments to Constitutional Assembly," also mentioning, "Political forces widely welcome this verdict … celebratory march of revolutionary forces from court to Tahrir Square."
In other court-related news, Al-Akhbar runs a headline pertaining to the controversy over the alleged dual nationality of Salafi presidential nominee Abu Ismail's mother. The ultraconservative preacher argued that he was not aware that his mother held American citizenship, and has filed a judicial appeal to keep himself in the race.
"Surprise: Abu Ismail's mother voted in Obama's elections," Al-Akhbar writes above a story that says Nawal Abdel Aziz, Abu Ismail's mother, was a full-fledged US citizen, not merely a green-card holder — especially in light of her participation in the last American presidential election. The state-owned paper cites documents provided by Egypt’s Foreign Ministry.
Al-Shorouk reports on Abu Ismail's reaction with a headline reading, "Abu Ismail: Foreign Ministry disseminates blasphemy, Interior Ministry spreads fallacies." Another article concerns the court battles Shater and Abu Ismail must now take on before they can run in the race.
There is an ongoing debate about whether Shater, a multi-millionaire businessmen and chief financier of the Muslim Brotherhood, is eligible to run due to a prison sentence on money laundering charges he received under Mubarak’s regime. Some sources argue he was pardoned, while others say he was only released for medical reasons and was not legally eligible for a rehabilitation order.
The Brotherhood-dominated Parliament is working on a law to ban members from Mubarak's former National Democratic Party from running for president. This draft law is believed to specifically target Suleiman, but may also target other nominees including Amr Moussa, who served as Arab League secretary general and foreign minister, and Ahmed Shafiq, former prime minister and civil aviation minister.
Al-Akhbar reports that a parliamentary committee is preparing a draft law and the legislature will meet Wednesday to discuss the draft in an extraordinary session. "Draft directly targets Omar Suleiman in an attempt to remove him from presidential race," the paper writes. Meanwhile the interim cabinet, which is headed by Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri, who also served in the same post under Mubarak, said the judiciary — not Parliament — should rule on this issue.
Al-Shorouk quotes legal experts as saying the draft law is a Brotherhood maneuver to gain sympathy and support, while another article has the justice minister saying the draft law verges on unconstitutionality. The article suggests that there are vested political interests behind this draft that is being issued by Brotherhood. The article hints that the Brotherhood and its party are seeking their own political gains and a win for their own candidate by taking Suleiman out of the picture.
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-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