Tuesday’s papers: Swearing-in delayed, former senior officials’ trials broadcasted

Both state-run and independent newspapers shed light on protesters’ escalating anger over the new ministers nominated to Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s cabinet.

For its lead story, Al-Ahram reports on Sharaf’s announcement to postpone the swearing-in of a new cabinet following mounting opposition over recent ministerial changes.

It is reported that political parties called for replacing higher education, petroleum, tourism, communication, electricity and antiquities ministerial candidates.

Al-Dostour echoes Al-Ahram’s statement saying that archaeologists staged a massive demonstration in front of the cabinet building to protest the appointment of Abdel Fatah al-Banna as antiquities minister.

“With all respect and trust in the new ministers’ capabilities, their political and professional histories are unknown to people,” the independent paper quotes Bahaa Abu Shaqa, Wafd Party deputy, as saying. He expressed Egyptian fears of unqualified leaders for the transitional period.

“Tahrir rejects the amendment,” Al-Wafd’s main headline reads, reporting on the same news. The liberal opposition paper writes that protesters regretted meeting with Sharaf, expressing their disappointment in his selection of candidates. They have insisted on continuing their sit-in until other demands are met.  

Pictures of former Information Minister Anas al-Fiqqi’s trial dominates the papers’ front-pages. Fiqqi appeared in a white shirt while getting out of the court’s cage to stand before the judge for questioning.

“Egypt enters the era of trials' live coverage,” reads a headline on independent daily Al-Shorouk.

The trials of both Fiqqi and former head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union Osman al-Sheikh are the first to be broadcast live on television. The move – which aimed to assuage public fury – comes after continuous pressure from protesters to show greater transparency in justice procedures.

Both Fiqqi and Sheikh are accused of squandering public funds of about US$1.9 million for exempting private television channels from paying fees for live broadcasts of the 2009-2010 football season and the start of the 2010-2011 season, Al-Dostour says.

It is reported that the Cairo Criminal Court has released both defendants pending investigations. Fiqqi and Sheikh’s trials are adjourned to 18 September and 19 July respectively.

Al-Gomhurriya announces the latest statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been governing the country since former President Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February.

The state-run paper states that Egypt’s ruling military council ordered the formation of the High Electoral Committee in preparation for parliamentary elections.

The committee will be chaired by Abdel Moez Ahmed Ibrahim, head of the Cairo Court of Appeals. Other top judges will also take part in monitoring the electoral process, the report says.

In his op-ed, Al-Wafd Editor-in-Chief Suleiman Goda sharply criticizes Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s policies. He writes that while holding office, Sharaf’s sole concern has been benefiting himself. “He didn’t care about forming a new cabinet or adopting real ministerial amendments that meet the needs of Egyptians … who discovered that their stance after the revolution is more miserable than before,” says Goda, wo believes that the prime minister makes every effort to stay in power while ignoring the collapse of Egypt’s economy and its deteriorated condition.    

Finally, Al-Shorouk publishes a short piece about former Industry and Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid’s attempt to escape charges of corruption brought against him. According to the privately-owned paper, Rachid applied for Canadian citizenship as a foreign investor last week during his stay in the Emirates. Rachid is accused of profiteering and squandering public funds.

Rachid mentioned in his request to the embassy that he is ready to pump more than US$150,000 in the Canadian investment market, which is one of the country’s conditions for obtaining nationality.

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

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

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