Top News: Cabinet races to finalize parliamentary elections law

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The Cabinet is racing time to pass the draft law on parliamentary elections.  Hamdeen Sabbahi’s Popular Current Party said the bill should not be passed before consensus is reached between political forces. However


NSF ‘conditionally’ contesting parliamentary elections
The National Salvation Front will only contest the upcoming parliamentary elections if their demands regarding the elections law are met. In a statement released Friday morning the NSF outlined the 10 points it demands be included in the parliamentary elections law in order for its candidates to contest the elections. The full list of demands can be found here. [DNE, 1/4/2013] 

Cabinet races to finalize parliamentary elections law
The Cabinet is racing time to pass the draft law on parliamentary elections.  Hamdeen Sabbahi’s Popular Current Party said the bill should not be passed before consensus is reached between political forces. However, the Shura Council’s legislative committee approved a number of new amendments to the law on Thursday. Prime Minister Hesham Qandil said the law must be ready 15 days at the latest after the approval of the new Constitution, which President Mohamed Morsi officially signed on 25 December 2012. [Egypt Independent, 1/4/2013] 

Possible merger of opposition parties
Five non-Islamist political parties are discussing a possible merger, a few weeks before the upcoming parliamentary elections. The Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party, the Free Egyptian Party, al-Adl Party and Free Egypt Party are currently considering merging into the existing al-Dostour party, led by leading opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei. [DNE, 1/3/2013]

Brotherhood denies reports of deadly ‘Group 95’ accused of killing protesters
The Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, issued a statement denying the existence of the “Brotherhood Group 95,” an entity that has been accused of committing acts of violence during the 25 January revolution. President Mohamed Morsi’s fact-finding committee investigating the deaths of protesters during the revolution issued a report recommending the president open investigations into the group. [Egypt Independent, El Watan (Arabic), 1/4/2013]

Justice Minister outlines new articles for draft protest law
Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky announced on Thursday new articles that would be added to the draft law on the right to protest, which is currently up for discussion in the Shura Council. The new articles would stipulate that demonstrations can only be dispersed in the presence of a judge, and demonstrations can only be banned by a court ruling. The 26-article bill says that organizers of any public assembly or peaceful gathering must obtain permission from the authorities three days ahead of time. The police have the right to attend any such assembly and shut it down if it discusses or does anything not outlined in the application for permission, “if there is shouting,” or if there is any promotion of “sedition.” [Egypt Independent, 1/3/2013]

Nour Party mobilizing for parliamentary elections, say group leaders
The Nour Party is getting ready for the upcoming parliamentary elections by selecting candidates and developing new methods of campaigning, said Galal Morra, the party’s secretary general. The official spokesperson for the Salafi Dawah, Abdel Moneim al-Shahat, said that the movement aims to encourage people to worship God, and that all the members of the group should achieve that goal first before trying to apply it to others. [Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic) 1/4/2013]

Also of Interest:

  • New Salafist al-Watan Party ‘welcomes’ Copts and women | Ahram Online
  • Nour Party: Recent resignations aren’t significant | Egypt Independent


Fact-finding committee calls for amending military code on prosecuting army officers
The Shura Council should amend the military code to allow investigations into army officers implicated in the killing of demonstrators during the January 2011 revolution, said Ahmed Ragheb on Thursday. Ragheb, a member of President Mohamed Morsi’s fact-finding committee that is investigating the case, pointed to Article 8-bis of the code, which says army officers may only be tried by military prosecutors. [Egypt Independent, 1/3/2013] 


Economic uncertainty drives up Egypt borrowing cost
Yields on Egyptian 182-day T-bills rose at an auction on Thursday as a weakening Egyptian pound and uncertainty about the fate of a $4.8 billion IMF loan drove up the cost of government borrowing. The average yield climbed to 14.104 per cent from 13.300 per cent at the last issue on Dec. 25. Last week’s auction was cancelled. The pound hit a new record low of LE6.42 against the U.S. dollar on Thursday and has lost 3.7 per cent of its value against the dollar since last week. [Ahram Online, 1/4/2013] 

Egypt says to reassure IMF in January visit
An IMF mission will visit Egypt in January for talks on a $4.8 billion loan agreement that was postponed last month at Cairo’s behest because of political turmoil in the country, the government spokesman said on Thursday. "They … are coming this month," spokesman Alaa al-Hadidi told Reuters when asked about the timing of the visit. "The purpose is to reassure them that what we agreed on last time is still there, and nothing has changed," he said. [Reuters, 1/3/2013] 

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt to auction land for industrial development | Ahram Online
  • Egypt stocks on the rise as foreigners buy | Ahram Online


Egypt seizes US-made missiles destined for Gaza
Egyptian security forces have seized US-made anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles destined for Gaza, where militants have said they would acquire more weapons to use against Israel, security officials said on Friday. The officials said six missiles were found hidden in the Sinai, which borders both the Gaza Strip and Israel, after security forces were tipped off to the hiding place. [Ahram Online/AFP, Egypt Independent/DPA, 1/4/2013]


Morsi stresses entrenched relations between Egypt, Sudan
Morsi received on Thursday January 3 a message from his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir related to bilateral cooperation and Egypt-Sudan growing relations. Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti handed over the message to Morsi during a meeting. During the meeting, Karti briefed Morsi on the recent developments in Sudan including ties between North and South Sudan. For his part, Morsi expressed Egypt’s readiness to mediate and bring closer the view points between the Sudan and South Sudan. [SIS, 1/4/2013]

Washington concerned over crack down on freedom of expression in Egypt
Spokesperson for the United States Department of State Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday that Washington is "concerned by reports in recent days of Egyptian Government efforts to restrict media freedom and criticism within Egypt." “A fundamental aspect of a healthy democracy is that people can be critical of their government and that there can be a free press free from prosecution. So we strongly oppose any kind of legal restrictions on freedom of expression,” Nuland said. [Aswat Masriya, 1/3/2013] 

US embassy reaffirms no part in revolution violence
The US embassy in Cairo has reaffirmed that embassy staff took no part in the killing of protesters during the 25 January revolution. A statement released on Thursday afternoon reiterated that embassy vehicles were stolen and possibly involved in acts of violence during the revolution, but stressed that embassy staff played no part in the violence. [DNE, 1/4/2013] 

Also of Interest:

Photo: Reuters

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