Egypt Independent

Tuesday’s papers: To boycott or not to boycott?

The headlines of Tuesday’s newspapers continue to express alarm over escalating political polarization.

The liberal Wafd Party’s daily writes that the Salafi Nour Party has announced its participation in the upcoming elections for the House of Representatives, formerly the People’s Assembly, and is ready to join any electoral political alliance, as long as it has an Islamic background.

The ultra-conservative party has backed away from its previous stance boycotting the controversial polls because of reservations about the dates.

Bassem al-Zarqa, a member of the party’s board, demanded that the government guarantee the transparency of the balloting process, the paper reports.

State-owned paper Al-Akhbar says that Islamist party Al-Wasat has decided to compete in April’s parliamentary polls. The party is reportedly holding initial discussions about running with other Islamist political parties to run together on a single ballot.     

On the other hand, the recently-established Al-Sabah newspaper writes that the opposition coalition National Salvation Front will meet today to announce whether to boycott or take part in the polls.

The paper quotes Amr Moussa, head of the Conference Party, as saying that he intends to boycott the elections. However, “If boycotting takes place, it should be collective,” he adds.

On its front-page, privately-owned daily Al-Watan highlights eye-catching quotes from Mohamed ElBaradei, the Dostour Party head, in his latest BBC interview.
The paper’s headline reads: “ElBaradei calls on the army to interfere” and quotes him as saying, “Holding elections now puts Egypt on a path [toward] chaos.”

ElBaradei, a prominent figure within the NSF, said he supported boycotting the elections on Sunday because the current government is following in the footsteps of Mubarak’s 30-year regime, threatening electoral transparency, Al-Watan writes.

Privately-owned paper Al-Tahrir writes that the Ultras Ahlawy have organized a massive march calling for retribution against the police officers on trial for the deaths of at least 72 football fans in February 2012 during the “Port Said Massacre.”

Protesters chanted anti-interior ministry slogans and threatened chaos if justice is not served. They reportedly held banners baring the pictures and names of those who lost their lives at a football match in Port Said between Ahly and local club Al-Masry on 1 February 2012.

The same newspaper publishes a story reporting that bakers across the governorates are outraged by the new subsidization system for bread products. The government is considering subsidizing final bread products only, while placing the cost burden of grain and flour fully on bakery owners.  

The paper says that bakers have announced they will go on strike starting at the beginning of March if the government goes ahead with the new subsidy scheme.

Freedom and Justice, the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, dedicates the upper half of its front page to President Mohamed Morsy’s interview aired after midnight in the early hours Monday.

The partisan paper sheds light on the parts of the interview that help burnish Morsy’s image amid growing criticism of the Cabinet’s lackluster response to the country’s crises. Morsy conceded that the Cabinet's performance has not been spectacular, but argued that changing it now would have negative implications both for Egypt's image and the economy.

In a two-page spread, Al-Wafd paper provides an in-depth analysis of the president’s interview by a number of politicians, who claim that Morsy did not offer a drastic solution for the current political deadlock.    

Flagship state daily Al-Ahram publishes a classic example of its coverage template concerning the so-called achievements of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil’s government. In its leading story, the paper focuses on tedious details, aiming to convey a clear message that the government is directing all efforts to salvaging the country from myriad economic crises.

Egypt’s papers:

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

Al-Sabah: 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