Wednesday’s papers: Ready for battle

The battle over the draft constitution as well as the court case that will determine the fate of its authors, the Constituent Assembly, both top headlines Wednesday. An administrative court adjourned its consideration of lawsuits to dissolve the assembly to 23 October, when it is expected to issue a final verdict.

Privately owned Youm7 reports on the Supreme Constitutional Court's disapproval of draft articles governing its jurisdiction. The court reportedly says the draft constitution would strip it of most of its powers and disregards suggestions the court had made to the assembly on the subject. Court officials will convene in session until the issue is resolved, Youm7 reports. Some assembly members are rejecting the court's complaints, saying the nation's highest court "is not our guardian," according to the same paper.

On independent Al-Tahrir's front page, over a photo of supreme court judges, runs the headline "The Supreme Constitutional Court is against the constitution." The story quotes court head Maher al-Beheiry as saying during a press conference Tuesday that the draft constitution as it stands will compromise the court's independence. The court opposes several changes, including a new role for the president in choosing the court's head.  

Private daily Al-Watan dedicates its entire front page to controversy over the initial draft, highlighting the rift between the court and the Constituent Assembly, as well as the debate over the article that stipulates Islam is the state religion and Sharia principles are the main source of legislation. Rehashing a long-standing debate are Minister of Endowments Talaat Mohamed Afify Salem and Islamic institution Al-Azhar; Al-Watan quotes Afify's criticism that the word "principles" weakens the article when "Sharia" would do, while Al-Azhar says the article enjoys vast consensus among political powers. The paper also quotes the head of Al-Azhar's delegation to the Constituent Assembly as saying elected officials should keep their opinions about the draft to themselves and allow citizens to comment.

The paper refers to rifts among committees within the Constituent Assembly over their respective jurisdictions and decisions. The paper also highlights division during the administrative court session Tuesday over the assembly's dissolution. According to Al-Watan, lawyer Ali Dorgham said that those aiming to dissolve the assembly want to destroy Egypt, prompting the head judge to kick him out of the courtroom Tuesday. Muslim Brotherhood lawyers also reportedly scuffled with the lawyers calling for the assembly's dissolution based on arguments it violates membership regulations.

After calls from several opposition political parties, protests against President Mohamed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood are again expected to flare up Friday, the paper reports. The planned protest is in response to fighting that left more than 100 injured when protesters against the president clashed with his supporters in Tahrir Square last Friday.  Al-Watan quotes Freedom and Justice Party leader Saber Abouel Fotouh's allegations that the president's detractors are receiving foreign support to divide the country.

Party mouthpiece Freedom and Justice describes the protests as an attempt to sideline Islamists. The paper employs charts to show that appointees from its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, constitute a mere 15 percent of the National Council of Human Rights, 18 percent of governors, 16 percent of the Cabinet, and 32 percent of the president's advisers.

The paper reports on the Brotherhood's allegations of a conspiracy during Friday's clashes, describing a planned attack on its members called "Operation Zero." The paper says that 180 members of the Brotherhood have filed complaints regarding the clashes.

State-owned newspapers avoid the subject. Instead, Al-Ahram opts to cover the prosecution's accusations that former head of the Central Auditing Authority Gawdat al-Malt, with the aid of former Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohie Eddin, squandered hundreds of millions in public funds. Al-Akhbar elects to skip the most controversial topics with a story reporting that 13 percent of state employees fall below the poverty line, according to the latest study from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

In a two-page interview run in Youm7, former presidential hopeful and Constituent Assembly member Amr Moussa holds President Morsy responsible for Friday's clashes. Moussa, who finished fifth place in the first round of presidential elections in May, says that Morsy's 100-day program was a ploy to attract votes. He also criticizes the president's choice of advisers and accuses him of favoring those close to him rather than officials with real experience. And while he has strong opinions on the president, the former Arab League chief says he has not yet decided whether to compete against him in the next 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-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: 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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