Tuesday’s papers: Party formation law, million-man demo next Friday

The latest news of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his family dominates the main headlines of both state-owned and independent newspapers on Tuesday.

For its lead story, the independent daily Al-Dostour reports that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) denied widespread rumors that Mubarak has traveled to Saudi Arabia to receive medical treatment for pancreatic cancer. On its official Facebook page, SCAF emphasized that Mubarak and his family currently undergo house arrest.

On 28 February, the public prosecution banned Mubarak and his family from traveling abroad and ordered that all their assets be frozen.

According to the independent paper, sources say that the former president is living with his family in Jollie Villa Golf resort in Sharm el-Sheikh where they have a normal life. “Mubarak enjoys good health…exercises daily for half an hour and still dyes his hair,” it says.

In related developments, the opposition paper Al-Wafd writes that the Canadian government has passed a bill to freeze assets of both Mubarak and ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The action was taken as a response to several requests by the Egypt’s attorney general to freeze assets of Mubarak and his family along with former corrupt officials.   

“No religious-based parties,” reads the main headline of state-owned paper Al-Ahram. The report lists the articles of a new political party formation law enacted on Tuesday by SCAF.

In a press conference, Major General Mahmoud Shahin, a member of the military council, said that a judicial committee will be in charge of monitoring new members’ adherence to all legal terms and procedures for forming political parties, says the paper.

The members must submit a request to the judiciary committee, which should reply within 30 days. In case a response is not given during the determined period, the party is accredited the next day.

Shahin stressed that selecting party members on the basis of religion, gender, language or origin is prohibited.

Also, the legislation stipulates that newly formed parties should be comprised of 5000 members from ten governorates.  

At the bottom of the article, the paper quotes Shahin as saying “emergency law will be lifted before parliamentary polls next September… the date for presidential elections is yet to be set.”

On its front-page, Al-Shorouk features a headline that reads: “Muslim Brotherhood defeat in the first transparent students elections.”  

The “Free Students” group affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood lost the first round of student union elections at Cairo University. The report shows “Free Students” did not win more than 94 out of 337 seats in six different colleges.

The electoral process was free and fair, said Mohamed al-Mohamady, the supervisor of Commerce College elections. He pointed out the “Independent Students” gained the majority of votes, winning 38 out of 56 seats. Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood gained nine seats and “Dream of Tomorrow” won six seats. “Independent Students” also achieved a majority of the votes in Medicine, Engineering, Computer Science, Archeology, Science, Oral and Dental Medicine Faculties.  

On the same front, Al-Shorouk features a report on the call issued by Egyptian activists on Facebook for a million-man demonstration in all Egypt’s districts on Friday, 1 April.

The aim of the protest, which will be staged under the slogan “Friday of Saving the Revolution”, is to clean up Egypt from the remnants of the old regime who are still exercising authority in the country’s institutions.

It is reported that Friday’s demonstrations are calling for the fulfillment of six demands including fast trials for the toppled regime’s figures, dissolution of National Democratic Party, and refusal to enforce any law that suppresses freedom of expression in response to the anti-protest law that criminalizes sit-ins, marches and demonstrations paralyzing daily life and affecting the national economy.

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