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Most of Wednesday's papers report on reactions to the speech delivered by a military spokesman that was widely rejected by protesters and youth leaders around the country, though it was welcomed by Islamist forces.
In a TV address Tuesday, Deputy Defense Minister Mohsen al-Fangary stressed that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) won't allow any "hijack" of power and is committed to managing the country during its transition period. Fangary said the council would stick to its plan for handing over power: September parliamentary elections followed by the drafting of a new constitution and then finally, presidential elections.
Fangary said non-peaceful protests harm citizens' interests and hamper the operation of state institutions. He called on "honorable" citizens to stand against acts that hinder normal life.
State-owned Al-Ahram writes that the Muslim Brotherhood described the SCAF statement as “reasonable,” but said its tone seemed threatening, while the Salafi party Nour urged Egypt’s youth to take the statement as a warning. Jama'a al-Islamiya praised the statement as a road map for the transition period and accused protesters in Tahrir Square of preparing to “ruin the country", according to the paper.
The new private daily Al-Tahrir focuses on negative reactions, showing contrasting pictures of Fangary at the top of the front page. The first picture shows him standing in honor of the revolution martyrs with the caption, “When Fangary won people’s hearts." The second shows him pointing his finger during Tuesday’s speech with the caption, “When he lost Egyptians' hearts.”
Al-Tahrir also reports on the 25 January Revolution Youth Coalition's press conference calling for Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to resign and join the protesters in Tahrir Square. The coalition condemned the SCAF’s unilateral way of managing the country and narrowing Sharaf’s powers until he became only the “face of a shallow democracy."
State-run Al-Akhbar features reactions from presidential hopefuls, who expressed anger over the military council's slowness in addressing popular demands.
Former Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh denounced the threatening tone in Fangary’s speech and Potential candidate Abdallah al-Ashaal said people are not getting the decisive and prompt answers they need. However, Ghad Party leader Ayman Nour said that while many demands have not been achieved, the council's statement was clear in dealing with others, especially in terms of setting guidelines for a new constitution.
Mohamed ElBaradei said people’s expectations far exceed the achievements thus far because the SCAF has restricted Sharaf's power, according to the paper. Amr Moussa, former Arab League secretary general, stressed the need to narrow the gap in trust between revolutionary groups and the country's rulers, urging a cabinet reshuffle.
According to the state-run Al-Gomhurriya, Sharaf will announce the replacement of 17 ministers Thursday, namely the ministers of interior, transportation, justice, endowments, labor force, civil aviation, electricity, military production, culture, housing, higher education, local development, environment, social solidarity, finance, communication and agriculture.
The paper writes that an informed source inside the cabinet said Sharaf is considering reinstating the Ministry of Youth and Sports and adding ministries for scientific research, social affairs and supply reserves.
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
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
Youm7: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned