Tuesday’s papers: Sorour’s sweeping victory, 70 Copts released, new ‘shadow’ parliament

Tuesday's front page in Al-Gomhorriya leads with the headline: “Sorour is unanimously the speaker of parliament.” The state-owned paper reports that parliamentary members re-elected Ahmed Fathi Sorour as the speaker of the Egyptian People’s Assembly during its opening session. Sorour won 505 out of 506 votes, beating his competitor Mohamed Abdel al-Aal, head of the Social Justice Party.

The paper quotes Sorour, who has been the speaker of the parliament since 1991, as saying that the utmost respect for the Constitution and other opinions, and the achievement of Egyptians’ ambitions are among the principals that govern the new parliament.

The same paper also prominently features on its front page the headline: “The first parliamentary crisis with the press.” According to the paper, Sorour has referred a statement made by a cartoon caricature of Zakaria Azmy, National Democratic Party MP, to the culture committee for investigation. Azmy accuses Al-Masry Al-Youm of defaming the image of parliamentarians through depicting them as dogs and cats, saying he appreciates the freedom of the press but rejects the violation of MPs’ dignity.  

Al-Ahram features a report on the sudden breakage–caused by the recent severe weather conditions–of a Mediterranean Sea submarine cable located 250km off Egypt’s coast. The damage has led to traffic disruptions of internet and international phone calls to Europe. Tarek Kamel, minister of communications, is forming a team to implement the necessary measures to provide alternative routes.

State-owned and independent papers share identical front-page reports on the release of 70 Copts who were arrested on charges of provoking violent riots in a protest against a ban on the construction of an Omraneya church. The clashes, which broke out late last month between the security apparatus and protesters left two people dead and 67 wounded, including 14 security officers. According to the report, Attorney General Abdel Maguid Mahmoud has freed the detainees for educational reasons and health-related problems.

Liberal Wafd Party paper Al-Wafd, however, dedicates the top headlines of its front page to the parliamentary elections, saying, "State Council is under the blockade of security apparatus,” and, “Political forces announce the public parliament.”

According to the report, the State Council witnessed on Monday a large-scale demonstration organized by political forces, former MPs, activists, and politicians in protest against rigging during the first and second rounds of the 2010 parliamentary elections.

The protesters insisted that the new parliament is null and void due to infringement by the ruling party. They called for a resolution of the People’s Assembly for reforming political life and respecting the will of Egyptians. Protesters also chanted “Down with the rigged parliament, down with oppressors,” and, “No to succession, no to the People’s Assembly, no to the Shura Council.”

The paper quotes Hamdin Sabbahi, founder of the Karama Party, as saying that the public parliament will confront the rigged parliament, adding, “Egypt is in need of democracy and the ending of the monopolization of the regime to regain its regional and international role.”

Reporting on the same issue, Al-Dostour dedicates half of its front page to Monday’s State Council demonstration. The independent paper runs the headline, “Shadow parliament to Ezz’s council,” referring to the public parliament which is in the process of formation.

While the Wafd candidate Ramy Lakah, who ran for election in Shubra district, said, “MPs of Ezz's council do not represent the Egyptian people but represent Ahmed Ezz and the NDP only.” Gamal Zahran, independent candidate, noted that MPs of the public parliament will file a law suit to against the violations committed during the legislative elections.

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-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

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

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned


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