Sunday’s papers: Election results and talk of a national defense council

The Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) agree on the structure of a national defense council that would discuss the army’s budget, reports privately-owned Al-Shorouk daily on its front page.

Al-Shorouk quotes an anonymous source from the Brotherhood as saying that the group has decided, with the SCAF, that the members of the council will include seven civilians, seven military men, Egypt’s intelligence chief, the president and relevant ministers. However, the story is not reported by Freedom and Justice newspaper, the official publication of the Brotherhood’s political party.

As the People’s Assembly election nears its end, both Al-Shorouk and state-run Al-Gomhurriya publish the compiled results of the three rounds. Despite slight differences in the two publication's numbers, the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has certainly collected the majority of seats so far, with 48 percent. Following it with 25 percent is the Salafi-led Nour Party, and the Wafd Party comes third with 9 percent, followed by the Egyptian Bloc with 8 percent. The Wasat Party and the Revolution Continues Coalition won the smallest shares with 2 percent and 1.5 percent respectively.

Al-Gomhurriya reports that only three women and only three Christians, of whom one is an FJP member, made it into parliament.

On the same note, Freedom and Justice publishes a vision of five possible scenarios for the FJP's parliamentary alliances after the elections. The first one is an alliance between the FJP (207 seats) and other Islamist parties (67 seats) but excluding the Nour Party, resulting in a coalition of total 274 seats.

The second scenario is a 313-seat coalition between the FJP and the Nour Party (106 seats) which would make it the biggest coalition in the parliament. The third comprises FJP and the Wafd (45 seats), adding up to 252 seats, which would also be the number of seats if FJP reaches an agreement with the Egyptian Bloc, the fourth potential scenario. The fifth scenario would be an alliance between the FJP and the Revolution Continues Coalition along with other small parties and independents, reaching 261 seats.

As for Egypt’s economic agenda, state-run Al-Ahram’s lead story states that according to Finance Minister Momtaz El-Said, a World Bank delegation is scheduled to visit Cairo in mid-January to resume negotiations regarding a US$3.2 billion loan to Egypt. El-Said confirmed that the World Bank will not put conditions on the loan. Al-Ahram adds that Industry and Trade Minister Mahmoud Issa is visiting Washington to speed up the economic assistance the US promised Egypt.

Al-Gomhurriya runs a sensational story about the imminent crash of Egypt’s stock exchange under the headline “The stock exchange cries blood,” pointing at previous threats reported by the media about 25 January 2012 and conspiracies to burn Egypt on that day.

“An urgent call through Al-Gomhurriya for every honorable citizen living on this great nation’s soil … to rescue what is left of it … protect it from the traitors’ conspiracies who want to bring Egypt down and dance on its debris … rescue the stock exchange that is Egypt’s economic mirror, it is bleeding from the actions of Egypt’s sons who blew up its indicators and waste the money of poor people…”

The story includes interviews with some stock market investors calling for toning down street protests and million-man rallies scheduled to take place on 25 January.

Meanwhile, trial of former President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons Gamal and Alaa, his interior minister Habib al-Adly, and six of his associates resumes on Monday and Tuesday, when the plaintiffs' lawyers are set to ask for the maximum punishment for the defendants. According to Al-Ahram, the lawyers’ team will request a fine of one billion pounds to compensate the losses to public and private assets and buildings due to the defendants' crimes.

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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