Monday’s papers: A wave of protests in the lead-up to 25 January

Today's newspapers highlight the military council's announcement that the presidential candidate nominations will start in April for the elections planned in June. They also cover ongoing nationwide protests demanding the realization of the government’s promises as preparations for protests on the anniversary of the beginning of the revolution are underway.

Reports of a petrol crisis sparked protests, though the petroleum minister denied that there is a crisis, independent newspaper Al-Shorouk reports. The minister explains that the overcrowding of gas stations nationwide is caused by rumors that petrol prices will increase.

State-owned Al-Gomhurriya rounds up protests all over the country. The cleaning staff in Ramses train station stopped trains last night while protesting for permanent contracts. Another protest organized by the General Union of Pension Recipients started in Cairo's Lazoghly Square to demand the 10-percent raise they said they were promised.

In response to the protest of pensions, Insurance and Social Affairs Minister Nagwa Khalil in Al-Shorouk says that she hasn’t backed down from her decision to raise pensions, but realized she can't make this decision on her own.

Al-Gomhurriya also reports similar protests in Minya, Assiut, Ismailia, Luxor and Sharqiya.

Amid this unrest, the papers speculate about plans for 25 January, the anniversary of the beginning of last year's uprising.

Independent paper Al-Dostour lays out the plans of activists who insist on considering 25 January a continuation of the revolution, not a celebration.

The activists' main demands are the release of political detainees and the fast transition of power to civilians, the paper writes. Al-Dostour says that the activists plan to start the day with marches in black on the Nile corniche in mourning of the revolution's martyrs and then head to Tahrir Square.

The paper also reports a military council statement regarding the anniversary in which the council affirmed that the military will protect all state buildings and criticized what it calls “codes” that people are using to incite violence.

According to Al-Wafd, the mouthpiece for the liberal Wafd Party, the Interior Ministry announced that it will shoot protesters who attack state buildings or police on 25 January.

The papers still dedicate considerable space to attempts to analyze the motives and the effects of Mohamed ElBaradei's announcement Saturday that he will not run in Egypt's upcoming presidential race. While some consider it a return to his role as a revolutionary leader, others see it as a political step taken because he is unlikely to win.

Independent Al-Shorouk newspaper measures the reaction of revolutionary youth to ElBaradei's decision, saying they were "shocked by ElBaradei's withdrawal and proud of his position." Al-Shorouk also describes the perspective of Islamists, who view ElBaradei's withdrawal as an "admission of defeat," the paper says.

Al-Dostour quotes constitutional expert and SCAF advisory council member Mohamed Nour Farahat as saying that ElBaradei's decision is only an expression of anger that has taken hold of him, and that he expects ElBaradei to reverse his decision after his anger passes.

Now that the People's Assembly elections have ended, a new question has arisen about who the next People's Assembly speaker will be. On its front page, Al-Shorouk highlights meetings held by parties to decide on the speaker.

Freedom and Justice Party Secretary General Saad al-Katatny, whose party dominated the elections, told Al-Shorouk that FJP has been meeting with all parties elected to the People's Assembly to make a final decision, which it will announce Monday.

Katatny also told Al-Shorouk that the party rejects the idea of an Islamic alliance in Parliament and rather seeks to achieve harmony among all sides.

Al-Gomhurriya publishes leaked information that Katatny will be nominated as People's Assembly speaker. The paper quotes Katatny as saying that it is normal for the parliament speaker to be a member of the majority party.

The paper cites sources that apparently confirm rumors that the Wafd Party will return to the Democratic Alliance led by the FJP, speculating that this will lead to a controlling parliamentary alliance of the FJP, Wafd Party and the Salafi-oriented Nour Party.

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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