Top News: Al-Azhar to Call for Speedy Power Transfer on Jan. 25

Al-Azhar Tayyeb

Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb will deliver a statement from Tahrir Square on January 25 to demand a swift transfer of power to civilians. Major political forces agreed after a meeting on January 18 that al-Azhar should be involved in drafting Egypt’s new constitution.


1) Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb will deliver a statement from Tahrir Square on January 25 to demand the rapid transfer of power to civilians. The statement will also demand speedy trials for all those involved in killing protesters, in addition to emphasizing the civil nature of the Egyptian state and demanding equality, freedom of opinion and the independence of the judiciary. The demands were agreed upon during a meeting on January 18 between alTayyeb and representatives of various revolutionary youth movements and political parties. Attendees also demanded that Al-Azhar be involved in drafting the new constitution. Al-Tayyeb also announced that al-Azhar will open an “operations room” on January 25 to facilitate coordination between youth activists and state institutions in document and reporting any violations that occur during planned celebrations.  [Egypt Independent, English, 1/18/2012] [al-Youm al-Saba’a, Arabic, 1/18/2012]

2) On January 17, dozens of protesters staging a “No for Military Trials” protest in Tahrir Square clashed with thugs who were attempting to rob them. Three people were hospitalized as a result of the violence. The leading revolutionary youth coalitions denied that their members were involved in the clashes. [al-Ahram, English, 1/18/2012] 

3) At a meeting last week in the Sinai desert, Bedouin leaders accused the SCAF of treason against Egypt as well as conducting “forged parliamentary elections” and warned that they might take up arms to achieve greater representation in the nation’s new parliament. [CNN, English, 1/18/2012] 


4) The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruled that a new draft law submitted by the SCAF to regulate the upcoming presidential elections violates provisions of the Interim Constitution that was approved by referendum last March. According to media reports, the SCAF’s proposed law includes amendments to 15 articles from the controversial Law 174/2005, which was criticized for consolidating the powers of the NDP. Among other things, the 2005 law established a Presidential Election Commission which was packed with government loyalists and shielded from oversight by any other institution. In its January 18 ruling, the SCC rejected the constitutionality of the draft law on the basis its reference to Law 174/2005 on amendments to the 1971 Constitution, which has been superseded and invalidated by the Interim Constitution. SCC Chief Justice Farouk Sultan issued a statement affirming that a Presidential Election Commission headed by the chief justice will have sole authority to regulate the schedule and procedures for the presidential election without interference by the military. [al-Shorouk, Arabic, 1/18/2012] [al-Shorouk, Arabic, 1/18/2012] [SIS, English, 1/18/2012] [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 1/18/2012]  

5) Hosni Mubarak’s lawyer said on January 18 that the military was responsible for the deaths of protesters during the uprising and insisted that the former president had done nothing wrong, while also blaming “foreign conspiracies.” [The Daily News Egypt, English, 1/18/2012] 


6) Final election results for the People’s Assembly will be announced on January 21, according to the High Electoral Commission (HEC). [Egypt Independent, English, 1/18/2012] 

7) The Free Egyptians Party announced its withdrawal from the liberal-dominated Egyptian Bloc, which includes the leftist Tagammu Party and the liberal Social Democratic Party. In a statement, the party said it “will continue to call for consensus among the citizens of the nation and among all political forces, provided this does not affect the principles and values ​​of the party or conflict with the national interest." The statement also criticized the Freedom and Justice Party for prematurely striking “deals in the dark” before the new parliament is seated, referring to the FJP’s agreement with other parties on its nomination for parliamentary speaker, Saad al-Katatny, as well as two deputies from the Wafd and Nour Parties. [Egypt Independent, English, 1/17/2012] 

8) Sources within the Freedom and Justice Party have made conflicting statements regarding the party’s plans for the presidential election. On January 17, a Brotherhood source said that the FJP plans to back the presidential candidacy of Mansour Hassan, head of the SCAF-appointed Advisory Council. However, on January 18, a member of the FJP’s high board, Azab Mostafa, denied the reports as “baseless” and “nonsense,” saying that the party has yet to determine its position on any of the presidential candidates. [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 1/18/2012] [Egypt Independent, English, 1/18/2012] [Egypt Independent, English, 1/17/2012] 

9) Presidential candidate Amr Moussa rejected Mohamed ElBaradei’s concerns over the military’s reluctance to relinquish power and said he is confident that the SCAF will fulfill its pledge to transfer authority to a civilian government by June 30. [Egypt Independent, English, 1/18/2012] 


10) Ambassador Anne Peterson visited Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo to discuss bilateral political and economic relations on January 18. Patterson met with Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and other senior Brotherhood leaders. During the meeting, Badie told Patterson that Sharia law is the principle source of legislation in Egypt and the best mechanism for guaranteeing freedom because it protects freedom of religion and indivdiual freedom for all citizens. Badie also said that US support for authoritarian regimes had damaged the country’s image, and that the US must act positively to resolve the Palestinian issue to improve its standing in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Expressing concern over Egypt’s deteriorating economic situation, Patterson said that Egypt must accept loans from the World Bank, and Badie said that such a loan should be discussed by the new parliament.  [al-Ahram, English, 1/18/2012] 


11) During a speech to the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington on January 17, Minister of Trade Mahmoud Eissa urged US investment and offered assurances that Egypt would maintain open markets. He added that Egypt is open to pursuing free trade talks with the US. [The Daily News Egypt, English, 1/18/2012] 

12) The Egypt Independent points to an emerging consensus on economic policy among the dominant parliamentary forces led by the Freedom and Justice Party. “A common approach is emerging: obtain aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other foreign donors; protect private business and financial markets; cut the budget deficit; and lend money to small and medium-sized enterprises to create jobs.” [Egypt Independent, English, 1/18/2012] 

Photo Credit: Moheet


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