Egypt Independent

Tuesday’s papers: Tax increases canceled, but referendum underway


Al-Shorouk writes this morning about the new taxes imposed and frozen by President Mohamed Morsy. The independent newspaper quotes sources saying that the Muslim Brotherhood blessed the new tax rise secretly but rejected it publically. The canceled decision left many Egyptians confused. According to Al-Shorouk, citing a presidential source, the reason behind the sudden cancelation of the new taxes is the Freedom and Justice Party’s disapproval based on political and economic reasons, in addition to its possible negative impact on the results of the referendum.

The independent newspaper added that a source inside the Cabinet stated that there is a state of concern and fretfulness since these tax increases were decided on by the president and the government and were supposed to be implemented between December and next year. The Cabinet Source added that the tax changes were supposed to be revealed in the local newspapers and not through press conferences. The source concludes that the FJP blessed the decisions secretly then rejected them in public in order to pass the constitution.

On the same topic, Al-Akhbar writes, "The president saves the government at midnight from political suicide." The government mouthpiece states that president intervened at 2 am on Monday and canceled the decision, after he sensed a negative reaction from the public. The newspaper adds that talk shows brutally criticized the decision as well, making it seem like a dictate from the IMF.

On a different note, Al-Shorouk cited a military source as saying that the army will only guard fundamental institutions during the referendum on 15 December while the police will handle the polling stations.

Al-Akhbar says that the army's role will end immediately after the referendum. The newspaper states that the Supreme Elections Commission demanded the involvement of the Armed Forces alongside the police in securing the constitutional referendum. The decree gave army officers the right to arrest civilians and transfer detainees to prosecutors.

On page 3, the government mouthpiece writes, "Al-Amireyah Printing to start printing voting cards," reporting that the Interior Ministry started its work yesterday in guarding the state’s printing house. A number of officers, soldier and tanks are guarding the three gates of the printing house. A source stated that the Central Security Forces and the National Security Forces will only do their job, and have nothing to do with the current political debate.

The FJP-run Freedom and Justice Newspaper leads with, "the constitution in the hands of the people." Tomorrow, 586,000 expatriates commence voting on the draft constitution. The Supreme Elections Commission stated that Saudi Arabia has the highest number of registered voters, followed by Kuwait, the UAE and the US. The newspaper adds that Prime Minister Hesham Qandil met yesterday with several representatives from several ministries to study the organizational plan of the constitutional referendum and to ensure the honesty and the transparency of the process.  

On page 5, the Muslim Brotherhood's mouthpiece writes, "New tax law canceled with a presidential decree." A presidential statement released late on Monday canceled the tax decision, saying that the people will always be the sole decision-makers. The FJP expressed its utter rejection of the decision, as it would increase the burdens on Egyptian citizens. The party added that it learned about the tax increase from the media and immediately addressed the president and demanded its postponement until the formation of a new Parliament, which can then discuss it.

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