Egypt Independent

Tuesday’s papers: All things Morsy



All of Egypt’s newspapers focus the vast majority of their coverage on the country’s new president — the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy, who was also president of their political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party — and his plans for his next four years in office as head of state. News of Morsy’s victory, controversies and speculations regarding his policies eclipses all other news and events. President-elect Morsy is due to be sworn in on Saturday, yet there are questions regarding which authority he will take his oath before.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is due to hand over power to the new executive on 30 June, yet struggles between the president and the military junta raise questions regarding Morsy’s presidential powers. Furthermore, Egypt’s Interim Cabinet — headed by Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri — submitted its resignation to the SCAF on Monday. The new president is empowered to either accept or reject the cabinet’s resignation upon being sworn into office. Amidst this resignation there is much speculation as to who will be on Morsy’s presidential team.

The independent newspaper Al-Watan claims that it has classified information which was leaked to its reporters — indicating that the Obama administration and US authorities had pressured the SCAF to accept the presidential election results. “Al-Watan uncovers secretive communications between Brotherhood and SCAF under American sponsorship prior to declaration of Morsy’s electoral victory,” reads the headline of an article, which made the claim that Washington applied the pressure in light of the SCAF’s favoritism towards Ahmed Shafiq.   

“Questions for the President,” reads the top headline in the independent Al-Tahrir Newspaper. These questions for the president elect include: Will Morsy pledge oath before Constitutional Court? Will he enter into a confrontation with SCAF? Who will he appoint for the formulation of the cabinet? Will the Brotherhood operate from the presidential palace?

“First landmine in the path of the new president: The Society (of Muslim Brethren) instigates and calls on Morsy to refuse taking oath before the Supreme Constitutional Court,” reads the headline of the liberal party paper Al-Wafd. The article explains that Brotherhood leaders are attempting to sway Morsy’s decision regarding which state authority to swear his oath the before. Two leading MPs from the Brotherhood’s Bloc in (the recently-dissolved) Parliament have been pulling on Morsy in opposing directions.

Muslim Brother Mohamed al-Beltagy is reportedly calling on the president-elect to take the oath before the members of the dissolved People’s Assembly — in an act of defiance against the SCAF. Another former MP, Sobhi Saleh, has allegedly been calling on Morsy to take the oath of office before the Supreme Constitutional Court.

In the state-owned Al-Gomhurriya Newspaper, a headline reads: “[Sobhi] Saleh: Oath before Constitutional Court.” It also quotes another Brotherhood MP: “[Essam] al-Erian: Decision regarding who to take oath of office before is that of the president of the republic alone.”

Erian, who is the Freedom and Justice Party’s Vice President, and is temporarily acting as its chargé d'affaires, is making other headlines.In Youm7, “FJP convenes conference to choose Morsy’s successor.” The article mentions that this conference will be convened within a few days, and that “Erian is the foremost candidate for the presidency.” The article also mentions that the FJP will be discussing the restructuring and re-organization of the party.

In other news, Youm7 runs a photo on its front page with a headline reading “Farewell kiss.”  The photo is of interim Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri kissing the forehead of the controversial Fayza Abouelnaga, the Minister of International Cooperation as they stepped down from their ministerial posts. Al-Gomhurriya reads: “The government has resigned, will temporarily continue in a caretaker capacity until new cabinet is appointed.”

Regarding the new cabinet, there is rampant speculation regarding who will be given which portfolios, and which political figures will be included in Morsy’s presidential crew? A headline from independent newspaper Al-Shorouk reads: “Morsy begins consultations with [Mohamed] ElBaradei for his presidential team and cabinet.” ElBaradei, the former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency turned political reformer, is reportedly being offered the post of Prime Minister.

Al-Shorouk reports that amongst the names suggested for potential vice-presidents is former Muslim Brother and defeated presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, Coptic Christian writer Sameh Fawzi, former MP Amin Iskandar, who is also a Copt, along with the leader of the centrist Islamist Wasat Party Abul Ela Mady, strategic analyst Mustafa Hegazy, and law professor Hossam Eissa.

Regarding the names of Morsy’s potential vice-presidents, Al-Tahrir mentions Abouel Fotouh, Khaled Ali, a leftist labor lawyer, and defeated presidential candidate, along with Judge Hossam al-Gheriany, president of the Supreme Judicial Council.

In the meantime, Morsy is reported to have inspected the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace in the Heliopolis district of Cairo. At the palace, Morsy is reported to have met in a closed and private session with SCAF head Field Marshall Tantawi, and Ganzouri. Al-Tahrir ran a headline reading “Morsy meets with the SCAF, and thanks them for their well-guided administration of the country” since Mubarak’s abdication. The president-elect is reportedly residing in the Al-Salam Villa within the palace.

Morsy’s wife (who is also his maternal cousin), Naglaa Ali, had several weeks earlier had claimed in the Freedom and Justice newspaper that she and their five children would continue to reside in their private home, not in the presidential palace.

Lastly, Al-Shorouk runs an article entitled “Diplomatic protocols await the new president and his wife.” The article quotes Abdallah Al-Ashal — the former deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a presidential candidate who pulled out of the race in favor of Morsy.

Ashal argues that the new president and the first lady must abide by diplomatic protocols and stately etiquette. Al-Ashal recommends that, despite Morsy’s conservatism, the president should greet women, diplomats or otherwise, and agree to shake their hands. Al-Ashal also recommends that the veiled First Lady should stay out of the public eye “as many of Morsy’s opponents will try to criticize them, and detract from their standing.” The diplomat recommends that Ali should dress stylishly, but should keep a low profile — especially when taking into consideration the reputation of the former First Lady, Suzanne Mubarak, who Al-Ashal claims “attracted too much attention, and eventually negative publicity and notoriety.”

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