Tuesday’s papers: The Brotherhood experiments with Photoshop

As Mubarak’s only vice president ever and former head of the General Intelligence Services, Omar Suleiman’s candidacy seems to be scaring the living daylights out of political forces in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s daily Freedom and Justice Party newspaper might have taken the “man of mystery” theme a bit too far with hilariously amateurish Photoshop attempts. Page eight features a picture of Suleiman edited so that half of his body is dark. On the page opposite is a picture of a man in a ski mask pulling off a disproportionately larger mask of Suleiman.

Around the daily’s high-level existentialist art work are actual headlines, which gather opinions from many public figures and media outlets that all say essentially the same thing: “Suleiman’s candidacy is an affront to the revolution, and would bring the 25 January revolution back to square one.”

Opposition to Suleiman’s candidacy is a rare instance of unanimity in Parliament, for an issue other than supporting martyrs of the 25 January revolution. According to independent Al-Shorouk, the Proposals and Complaints Committee unanimously agreed on a draft law by Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan to keep high-ranking officials from the former Mubarak regime from running for public office for 10 years, beginning from 11 February 2011. Al-Shorouk describes the unanimity of the decision a “first in the history of the current People’s Assembly.”

State-run daily Al-Akhbar says that the draft law is to be discussed in Tuesday’s parliamentary session. According to legal experts quoted in the paper, Suleiman and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq would be the only candidates affected by the law. Socialist Popular Alliance Party MP Abul Ezz al-Hariry called the law a “consumerist” law that would not be implemented in time because it would need to pass through the courts first, which would take a long time. According to Al-Shorouk, the law must then be ratified by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and it is unclear what action the council will take.

The secretary general of the Presidential Elections Commission told Al-Shorouk that the final ruling on whether or not Brotherhood candidate Khairat al-Shater and Salafi Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail fulfill the requirements for presidential nomination would not come before 16 April.

Shater is also heavily in the news after unveiling the very broad lines of the Renaissance Project, which he calls the main backbone of his presidential platform. The Freedom and Justice paper posts some these broad lines, many of which are based on improving the economy and increasing productivity, though they are vague on how this will be achieved. In an interview with state-run Al-Ahram, Shater said his wealth is exaggerated in the media and that he met with other Brotherhood members in jail during his seven-year prison sentence to write out their vision for the project.

The State Council Administrative Court is set to issue a ruling on the legality of Parliament’s decision to split the Constituent Assembly 50–50 between members and non-members of Parliament. According to Al-Wafd, the newspaper for the party of the same name, the court also has the right to dismiss the claim as being outside of its jurisdiction. Al-Ahram quotes legal experts as saying the Constituent Assembly decision is not an administrative one, and therefore might be refused.

In yesterday’s hearing on the Battle of the Camel, supporters of Mortada Mansour, the man knows as Mr. CDs because of his propensity for carrying CDs with incriminating photos of his adversaries, crowded the courtroom in the Fifth Settlement court house in objection to the hearing, Al-Shorouk says.

Many of those who showed up were lawyers from Mansour’s law firm. Otherwise, ex-People’s Assembly Speaker Fathi Sorour and former NDP Secretary General Safwat al-Sherif made rare remarks at the hearing. Sorour gave a rundown of his history, while Sherif talked — ironically — about his trust in justice, Al-Ahram says.

Speaking of corrupt officials, a report in Al-Wafd says that ministers are still being paid exorbitant amounts in benefits and bonuses annually. While base salaries are not that high and do not surpass LE300,000 annually, the ministers of interior, foreign trade and industry, finance and petroleum make up to LE15 million, LE10 million, LE7 million and LE5 million a year respectively, according to an economic study.

The report also states that the housing and urban development and the social solidarity and domestic trade industries are both still extremely corrupt and still operate by the corrupt practices of old.

The Cairo Criminal Court released political activist Ahmed Doma yesterday after he was accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at the Parliament building during clashes there last December, Al-Wafd says. He admitted to doing so live on television, and reportedly confessed this to a judge.

And, by the way, the gas pipeline in Sinai was sabotaged again, Al-Ahram reports. This is the 14th time since the 25 January uprising that saboteurs disrupted the natural gas pipeline to Israel, “despite enhanced security,” according to Al-Shorouk. However, eyewitness accounts insist that the group that blew up the line near the North Sinai capital of Arish did so, and then left in a four-wheel drive vehicle without being pursued.

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

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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