As the anniversary of the January 25 uprising approaches, activists and political figures are divided over two different proposals for a transfer of power to civilians.


 1) As the anniversary of the January 25 uprising approaches, activists and political figures are divided over two different proposals for a transfer of power to civilians. One suggests that the military hand over power to the speaker of parliament once elections are completed in January. Another proposal, backed by 56 parties and movements led by April 6, is to hold presidential elections in April, earlier than originally planned, and open the door for presidential nominees on January 25. Elected MPs Amr Hamzawy and Mostafa al-Naggar, are also calling for presidential elections in April. The second proposal also calls for an inclusive and representative provisional assembly that will draft a constitution that accurately reflects Egyptian society and creates a semi-presidential system. Skeptics have dismissed both proposals as politically unfeasible, and fear that compressing the transition timeline further could provoke a crisis. The FJP has repeatedly rejected proposals to expedite a transfer of power and insists that the SCAF’s proposed timeline for a presidential election in July be respected. [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 1/10/2012] [al-Ahram, English, 1/10/2012]

2) The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) issued a statement demanded that the government recognize January 25 as a national day of tribute to the revolution, in addition to paying compensation to the martyrs’ families. In the statement, the FJP called on the SCAF to respect the timetable announced in the constitutional declaration and hold the presidential election immediately after the first joint session of the People’s Assembly and Shura Council. [al-Ahram, English, 1/10/2012]


3) Runoff voting began on January 10 for individual candidacy seats that were not decided in the third round, as well as for districts where voting was previously suspended by court rulings. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and Salafi  Nour Party lists are continuing their electoral rivalry in the runoffs, with the FJP competing for 30 seats and Nour for 29. Supporters of the rival Islamist parties clashed in Dakhaliya while competing to sway voters, forcing police to intervene to restore security.  [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 1/10/2012] [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 1/10/2012]

4) The Muslim Brotherhood announced on January 7 that it had won at least 41 percent of the seats in the People’s Assembly, with Islamist parties collectively winning almost two thirds of the seats so far. The FJP won 35.2 percent of the party lists votes in round three, followed by the Salafi Nour Party with 27.5 percent, Wafd with 9.8 percent and the liberal Egyptian Bloc at 5.6 percent. Official results are expected after a runoff round for undecided individual candidate races on January 10-11. Partial results issued by the Muslim Brotherhood indicate that non-Islamist parties will not have strong representation in the new parliament: An estimated 9 percent of the seats will go to the liberal Egyptian Bloc, 9 percent to  the Wafd Party, 4 percent to former NDP members, and only 2 percent to the Revolution Continues coalition. The moderate Islamist Wasast Party also won 2 percent of the seats, while the rest were taken by independents. [The Daily News Egypt, English, 1/9/2012]

5) The liberal-oriented Free Egyptians party announced that it will boycott the Shura Council elections (scheduled to start on January 29), over the HEC’s failure to follow up on electoral violations, particularly the use of religious slogans in campaign propaganda. [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 1/9/2012]


6) Al-Azhar has issued a controversial draft bill, which younger clerics view as an effort to consolidate the control of senior clerics over the institution. The proposal aims to reinstate the Senior Scholars Authority and grant it the authority to elect al-Azhar’s Grand Sheikh, ending the tradition of presidentially appointed Sheikhs. The Senior Scholars Authority would replace the state-controlled Islamic Research Academy. Last week, al-Azhar’s senior clerics discussed the proposal and agreed to set a retirement age (80 years) for the Grand Sheikh, although younger imams had argued for a lower retirement age. [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 1/10/2012]


7) The trial of former President Hosni Mubarak will continue into February, delaying a verdict until after the anniversary of the January 25 uprising. Omar Suleiman and Field Marshal Tantawi are now facing perjury charges. [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 1/10/2012]

8) Egyptian Ambassador Sameh Shoukry claimed that the government supports “the valuable role” played by NGOs and cautioned against calls from Congress to suspend military aid. [Bloomberg, English, 1/6/2012]

9) Naguib Sawiris, founder of the Free Egyptians Party, has been summoned to appear in court on January 14 on charges of contempt for religion after he published a controversial cartoon of Mickey Mouse sporting a beard and Minnie Mouse wearing a niqab on Twitter. [al-Ahram, English, 1/9/2012]

10) Presidential candidate Ayman Nour and the leading activists Mamdouh Hamza were summoned for questioning in connection with the clashes outside of the Cabinet building on December 19. Both are accused of inciting violence against the military. [al-Ahram, English, 1/9/2012]


11) An IMF delegation will visit Cairo on January 15 to restart negotiations on a $3.2 billion loan package, which the Egyptian government initially rejected last June. [al-Ahram, English, 1/9/2012]

Photo Credit: al-Masry al-Youm