Thursday’s papers: Military has no presidential candidate, and NDP remnants up in arms

“There is no candidate of the military establishment in the presidential elections.” These are the words of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi that make the headlines in all of Egypt’s major newspapers, except for Al-Wafd daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party, which squeezes the story into seven lines at the very bottom of its third page.

The statement by the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) comes as an assurance amid increased speculation about Tantawi’s intention to run in presidential elections, especially after his appearance walking in the streets of downtown Cairo, wearing a civilian suit, and interacting with people. 

The state-run Al-Ahram daily reports on Tantawi’s opening of a new medical complex in Cairo, where he mentioned that the postponement of the parliamentary elections is intended to meet the demands of young people who had established parties and wanted time to prepare for elections, adding that the SCAF “won’t leave power before meeting its promises, and it doesn’t have an interest in ruling for a longer period of time.”

However, the political fray between the SCAF and political forces on when to end the transitional period and transfer power to an elected civilian authority continues to occupy the front pages of most privately-owned newspapers, while being given less attention by state-run ones.

The privately-owned Al-Dostour daily reports that six of the presidential hopefuls announced an alternative timetable to the one proposed by the SCAF, which schedules the handover of power to an elected president at the latest by April 2012. On the same note, the 25 January Youth Coalition also presented three scenarios for the upcoming elections that also ensure the end of the transitional period by mid-2012.

Meanwhile, the Higher Committee for Elections announced yesterday that it would be accepting applications from those wishing to run in parliamentary elections, starting Wednesday 12 October and lasting for a week, reports the privately-owned Al-Shorouk daily.

The third main story today is the Treachery Law, which has prompted outrage among former members of the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP), who organized a conference in Upper Egypt on Wednesday night, attended by six new political parties and led by ex-NDP members, denouncing the law, reports Al-Shorouk.

“We won’t leave the country to the people of Tahrir Square, and we have men who can be in full control,” said Hesham al-Sheiny, a former NDP member of parliament.

The breaking-up of a Coptic sit-in by military forces receives different treatment from by state-owned Al-Ahram and the private owned newspapers. The former focuses on how protesters started by attacking the military police forces, which prompted them to fire gun-shots into the air to disperse protesters, who then attacked the military and police armored vehicles. However, Al-Ahram doesn’t mention the injury of six protesters who were beaten by the military forces, a fact which Al-Dostour reports on.

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