Egypt Independent

Monday’s Papers: Mubarak’s speech and Mustafa’s retrial

State-owned flagship daily Al-Ahram virtually bursts its pages with optimism on Monday. A front page column by editor-in-chief Ossama Saraya amounts to an extended love letter to President Hosni Mubarak’s government under the headline: “Mubarak’s promise…A Modern State.”

“Every day, President Mubarak teaches us more about loving Egypt,” Saraya gushes. “Through work and planning, the country has changed. The leader has put it on the path to being a modern state through implementing realistic, practical and gradual plans and programs. The operation is grounded in reality and not slogans.”

Further down the page, more optimism is on display. Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali, speaking in Washington DC at the springtime meeting of the International Monetary Fund, declared that the worst of the global financial meltdown is behind us. Ghali, the chairman of the IMF’s Monetary and Financial Committee, added that the world has “passed through the worst stages of the crisis and had started on the roads to recovery.”

Both Al-Ahram and fellow state daily Al-Akhbar also present front-page stories on the start of the retrial for Hisham Talaat Mustafa. A wealthy real estate tycoon, senior figure in the National Democratic party and Shura Council member, Mustafa was convicted in May of ordering his bodyguard Mohsen el-Sokari to kill Mustafa’s girlfriend Suzanne Tamim. A famous Lebanese pop singer, Tamim was discovered with her throat slashed in her Dubai apartment in July 2008. Both Mustafa and Sokarai were given death sentences in May, then granted an appeal by the Court of Cassation.

Al-Dostour’s front page focuses on President Mubarak’s televised speech on Saturday to commemorate Sinai Liberation Day. In his first real appearance before the nation since undergoing emergency gall bladder surgery in Germany last month, Mubarak’s speech addressed the upcoming presidential elections and indirectly dismissed Mohamed ElBaradei’s campaign to rewrite the Constitution.

“I confirm my commitment to the integrity of these elections,” Mubarak said, adding that he welcomes any presidential challengers, “as long as constitutional precepts and the rule of law are adhered to.”

Al-Dostour editor-in-chief Ibrahim Eissa devotes his front-page column to Mubarak’s speech, saying the President has succeeded in reassuring Egyptians about his personal health, but not about the health of his country.

“The president talked and walked and shook hands and sat down and stood up and smiled and accepted bouquets of flowers,” Eissa wrote. “Mubarak has shown that he is in good health, but he didn’t really reassure us about Egypt.”

Egypt’s newspapers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
: Daily, state-run
Rose el-Youssef:
 Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party’s Policies Secretariat
 Daily, privately owned
Daily, privately owned
 Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
 Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
 Weekly, privately owned

Sawt el-Umma: Weekly, privately owned