Tuesday’s papers: Presidential nomination process to accelerate

The news of the government accelerating presidential elections gets the most coverage in Egypt's papers Tuesday.

The state-owned paper Al-Ahram reports that the head of the ruling military council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, has ordered Farouk Sultan, head of the presidential elections committee, to accelerate the necessary procedures of the nomination process for presidential elections.

Transferring power to civilian rule has been the key demand echoed across the country by protesters and political groups that have expressed their frustration with the prolonged transition period.

The flagship paper also quotes a senior member of the presidential elections committee as saying candidate registration will begin on 10 March after the Shura Council’s polls end this month. 

The heated debate that took place during Monday's People's Assembly session also dominates the headlines of privately owned and state-run papers.

On its front page, independent Al-Tahrir highlights the growing rift between MPs with an eyebrow-raising headline that reads, "People's Assembly swears fealty to interior minister."

The report states that even though MP Mohamed Abu Hamed showed the body an empty shotgun cartridge that is believed to have been found in the area around the Interior Ministry, a number of Islamist MPs — mainly from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party — denied that police used excessive force against protesters and interrupted Abu Hamed's argument by yelling at him to sit down.

Reporting on the same issue, independent Youm7 adds that another Islamist MP said the cartridge is not sufficient evidence because it is not empty, which indicates that it was not obtained from the scene of the clashes.

The partisan Freedom and Justice paper, the Brotherhood's mouthpiece, writes that People's Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny ended the dispute, calling on police to stop dispersing protesters using force. 

Independent Youm7 quotes Judges Club Chairman Ahmed al-Zend as saying in a press conference, "Judges and members of public prosecution are facing a brutal attack from parliamentarians."

Zend also condemned the allegations by some People's Assembly members who describe ousted President Hosni Mubarak's trial as a "sarcastic series," stressing that judges will no longer accept any interference in their work. 

Another aspect of Mubarak's trial making headlines is Ahmed Refaat's latest statements at the beginning of Monday's trial session.

Refaat, the judge presiding over the trial of Egypt's former president, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six of Adly's senior aides, said that lawyers representing the families of the 25 January revolution martyrs are seeking to have him excluded from the trial.

The liberal opposition paper Al-Wafd reports that the Interior Ministry has approved Mubarak's transfer to the Tora Prison hospital. A security source is quoted as saying, "Mubarak will not be transferred before two months … until the hospital is fully equipped to receive the ex-president."

Mubarak was initially hospitalized in Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital after being under arrest and was then transferred to the armed forces medical center, located off the Cairo-Ismailia Road.

Freedom and Justice runs similar news, adding that most jailed remnants of Mubarak regime, including Mubarak's sons and former senior figures, have already been distributed among five different prisons under heavy security measures. Ahmed Ezz, Egyptian steel magnate and ex-senior member of now-dissolved National Democratic Party, Safwat al-Sherif, former Shura Council speaker, and Zakariya Azmy, former presidential chief of staff, have yet to be moved.

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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