Monday’s papers: Parliamentary races, Mecca is ‘safe,’ Egypt is Burundi’s ‘big sister’

Monday’s headlines mainly revolve around the parliamentary elections, a “heated" race which “kicks off today” according to most papers, state-owned and otherwise. Government papers Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar provide identical reports, as usual, on the preparations being made for the upcoming elections which will take place on 28 November and are set to include “the majority of existing political parties,” according to the two papers. On Sunday, President of the Higher Committee of Elections Abdel Aziz Omar announced that the upcoming elections will result in a total of 444 members obtaining seats representing 222 general committees, in addition to female members being granted 64 seats, in accordance with the 32 committees they will be eligible to join.

The rules governing the elections prohibit any candidate from spending more than LE200,000 on their campaign, and all campaigns must come to an end on 28 November. Furthermore, and in a statement made by National Democratic Party (NDP) Media Secretary Ali al-Deen Hilal, any candidate who “attempts to combine politics with religion, or circumvent the Constitution” will have to face the consequences, as the NDP is “very attached to the principles of citizenship, and of a civil state.”
Parliamentary elections are also covered in the independent dailies, although with a slightly different angle. “Do not vote for NDP candidates,” pleads Al-Wafd’s leading headline, which comes under the header, “Nation, now is the time.” The paper also includes a report accusing various government ministers of being “out of service” due to their commitment to campaigning for the upcoming election, including the ministers of irrigation, central development, and legal and parliamentary affairs, all of whom have “abandoned” their posts “without even requesting vacation time or official leave.” Al-Wafd also asserts that several other ministers—including Minister of Solidarity Ali el-Museilhi and Minister of Petrol Sameh Fahmy—have turned their offices into their “campaign headquarters,” neglecting any non-election-related duties.
Meanwhile, Al-Dostour reports on the “violent confrontations” between police and civilians in the town of Sars el-Layan—where NDP member Ahmed Ezz has a heavy influence. The independent daily reports that “hundreds of citizens” protested in front of the local police station after resident Mohamed Mamdouh Abeya, a known supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, was “kidnapped” by security forces, apparently under the incitement of local Ezz supporters. Abeya was then allegedly “beaten and dragged to the police station” by his captors, resulting in the subsequent protest by the residents who “witnessed the attack with their own eyes.” Police responded to the protest by “beating and arresting members of the crowd.”
Besides the parliamentary elections, the Hajj is also a recurring topic in Monday’s headlines, with papers reporting four million Muslims flocking to Mecca for the yearly pilgrimage. While Al-Akhbar reports on the various security measures taken by the Saudi government to ensure the “safety and welfare” of visitors, Al-Wafd considers the potential threats. “Al-Qaeda denies targeting Pilgrimage travelers in Mecca,” claims the independent daily’s headline. The denial of violent intentions comes as part of a statement released yesterday by Al-Qaeda, in which it explains that the “Hajj is one of the cornerstones of Islam,” and “Mecca is the most sacred location on the planet.” The Saudi government however is not taking any chances, dispatching 23 armed regiments and using over 2000 surveillance cameras to monitor all necessary areas, the paper reports.
Al-Shorouk reports on a fire which broke out within the Egyptian section of the campsite on Mount Arafat, a key Hajj destination. According to the paper, Saudi civilian forces succeeded in briskly putting out the fire, the result of an electrical surge. No casualties or serious injuries were reported.
Al-Shorouk, as well as Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar also report on an upcoming meeting between leaders of the Nile basin nations, in an attempt to come to an agreement over shares of the river’s water. In a message delivered on Sunday to President Hosni Mubarak via special envoy, President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza vowed to support Egypt in the upcoming negotiations, stating: “Burundi will always stand by Egypt, and can never oppose Egypt, which it considers a big sister to all other African nations.” 
Finally, a report in Al-Ahram announces the release of 606 convicts “on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.”  The decision, by the Ministry of Interior, will see the release of the prisoners the majority of whose sentences have been reduced due to “good behavior and conduct,” on the first day of Eid.

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

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouq: 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 el-Umma: Weekly, privately owned


Related Articles

Back to top button