Sunday’s papers: ‘Last minute confusion’ over elections deadline

While most papers lead with the ongoing crisis between the nation’s judges and lawyers, state-run Al-Ahram reports on the two-day extension granted by the High Elections Commission to prospective parliamentary candidates in order to avoid “last minute confusion,” according to the story's headline.

The decision to extend the submission deadline was announced on Saturday by commission head Abdel Moez Ibrahim, who, in Al-Ahram, explained it as a response to repeated requests made to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) by “some political groups and parties.”

The article then goes on to elaborate on the aforementioned state of “last minute confusion” as several groups scrambled to finalize and submit their candidate lists before the new deadline. In Alexandria, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party held a press conference partly to announce their determination to use “Islam is the Solution” – a previously banned political statement – as their party’s slogan, while in the governorate of Kafr al-Sheikh, two individuals claiming to be leaders of the local Wafd Party submitted two different candidate lists at different times.

Besides Al-Ahram, Sunday’s papers – including state-owned Al-Akhbar and Al-Gomhurriya – report on the conflict between judges and lawyers, which Al-Shorouk describes as “a competition between [the two] at obstructing the legal system.” 

The “divergence came to a crucial point on Saturday,” independent daily Al-Shorouk reports, after the Judges Club announced its decision to put all their affairs on hiatus until an agreement is reached. The conflict stems from a large number of lawyers rejecting recent amendments made to Article 18 of a draft law on judicial authority. The proposed amendments would allow judges to arrest anyone disturbing court sessions, including lawyers.

Mokhtar Nooh, a current nominee for the head of the Lawyers Syndicate, explained that a meeting would be held on Sunday, followed by a general assembly on Monday, to decide whether or not the judicial committee overseeing the rejection statement should be allowed to continue to function.

Al-Akhbar also leads with news of an “imminent agreement between Egypt and Israel regarding Ilan the spy,” referring to Ilan Grapel, the former Israel Defense Forces soldier arrested by Egyptian authorities last June. The paper reports that negotiations between the Egyptian and Israeli governments have now entered an “advanced stage, ” with the “final touches” being added to the agreement, according to an unnamed high-ranking source.

The negotiations are centered around the possible exchange of Grapel for “20 to 30 [Egyptian] adults and three children” currently residing in an Israeli prison, after being charged with “trespassing into Israeli territory to sell cigarettes.”

Party-run Al-Wafd reports on the widening rift within the Coptic community over the violent events at Maspero two weeks ago. Several activists have been vocal in their complaints that Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has largely ignored the results of the fact-finding committee set up by his government. The committee was assigned to determine the cause behind the violence at a church in the village of Marinab near Aswan, which occurred five days before the Maspero events. 

On its front page, privately-owned Al-Tahrir checks in on Habib al-Adly, who underwent surgery to “remove a cyst from his eye” on Saturday. The independent daily reports that the former interior minister had to be checked into the Police Academy hospital, since “none of the government-run hospitals would allow him to be admitted.” Following the surgery, Adly was promptly returned to his jail cell to recover.

In regional news, Al-Shorouk follows up on the death of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, reporting “revolutionaries failed to reach an agreement, so they killed Qadhafi.” According to the paper, the toppled leader was murdered by a young man who claims he captured Qadhafi after a separate group of revolutionaries refused to let him take Qadhafi to Benghazi. In an online video, Sanad al-Sadek, the captor, bragged about slapping Qadhafi after his capture. Qadhafi, Sadek claims, responded “you are like my son,” to which Sadek slapped him again and answered, “No, I am like your father.” Following a brief argument over where to take the apprehended dictator, Sadek apparently settled the issue by shooting Qadhafi at close range.

Al-Shorouk also reports that, in a separate video, one of the late Libyan leader’s sons, Muatassim, who was captured in the company of his father, was seen in captivity squatting between a group of revolutionaries and smoking a cigarette – evidence, Al-Shorouk concludes, that the Libyan National Transition Council’s claims that Muatassim was killed in an earlier battle are false.

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

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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

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