Thursday’s papers: New Freedom and Justice daily rejects ‘Selmy’s constitution’

"Egypt rejects 'Selmy’s constitution'" is the main headline of the new partisan Freedom and Justice daily, which the Muslim Brotherhood party of the same name recently received government approval to publish. 

The piece refers to the constitutional principles document Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy proposed to political parties Tuesday, which has stirred controversy over the powers it grants the military. 

The party paper exaggerates in claiming that all of Egypt rejects the principles, when only 15 parties – mainly Islamist – out of 52 political parties and four presidential hopefuls accepted its invitation to a Wednesday press conference to announce their rejection of the supra-constitutional principles. 

Privately owned Al-Shorouk is more specific, however, with a story under the headline “Islamists and liberals united against Selmy’s decree … and warnings of political turmoil.”

The press conference attendees criticized the document as giving the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) too much power outside of state control, through assigning it a political mission to protect the constitution as if it is an independent authority or state of its own, reports Freedom and Justice. The participants also said an elite group is trying to dominate the people by depriving the legislature of its constitutional powers.

Freedom and Justice Party President Mohamed Morsy threatened a new revolution if the supra-constitutional principles document is approved by the SCAF. Islamist groups are also planning a protest for 18 November, ten days before parliamentary elections are scheduled to begin.

Local papers Wednesday also write about a fact-finding committee report on the Maspero violence earlier this month during a peaceful Coptic march that led to the deaths of 27 protesters and at least one soldier.

“The fact-finding report denies that the military police used live bullets in Maspero,” reads the main sub-headline of the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, absolving the military of accusations it killed protesters. According to the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) report, the military police fired blank bullets into the air. The deaths were caused by an anonymous group of people on motorbikes who infiltrated the protest and fired live ammunition at both the military and the protesters, reports Al-Ahram. 

Al-Ahram adds that the report also claims three speeding armed vehicles trying to disperse the march hit protesters at high speed. However, privately owned Al-Tahrir provides a more assertive headline: “The armed vehicles ran over 12 protesters in front of Maspero.”

Just when everyone thought that Prime Minister Essam Sharaf had ended the judge-lawyer feud, Ahmed al-Zend, the head of the Judges Club, released a statement saying that no decision has been made to reopen the courts, local papers report.

State-owned Al-Akhbar quotes Zend as denying media reports that judges will soon resume work. The prominent judge added that those responsible for fueling the divide between lawyers and judges will be punished by the law.

Al-Tahrir uses its front-page headline to blatantly mock Sharaf and his cabinet for praising the Interior Ministry's success in arresting squatters in 6th of October City.

“The cabinet praises the Interior Ministry … Ha ha ha,” reads the headline.

“The (superficial) cabinet, headed by the (weak) Essam Sharaf, expressed its appreciation of the Interior Ministry’s efforts, and called for it to keep up its efforts in restoring security and confronting outlaws and all threats to public security,” reads the story that follows.

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-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

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