Political forces have agreed on standards for appropriate representation of all social groups in the constituent assembly, according to a member of the parliamentary committee tasked with resolving the dispute over the assembly’s membership. Wahid Abdel Meguid reported that the new constituent assembly will include nine members of religious institutions: five from Al-Azhar, two from the Coptic Orthodox Church, one from the Catholic Church and one from the evangelical church. Judges and constitutional experts will be represented by 15 seats, and syndicates will have eight seats. Public figures will be chosen by the end of the meeting, represented by 10 members.
Abul-Fotouh dips, Moussa holds steady in Ahram presidential poll [Ahram Online, English, 5/14/2012]
The latest weekly opinion poll by the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies puts Mubarak-era foreign minister Amr Moussa at the head of Egypt’s presidential race, garnering almost 41 per cent of the popular vote. Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister, jumped to second place in this week’s survey, receiving almost 20 per cent – a 2-per cent increase on the last poll. Shafiq pushed former Muslim Brotherhood figure Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh into third place with 17.8 per cent, down from 24 per cent in the previous poll. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, meanwhile, maintained his fourth-place position with 9.4 per cent. Independent Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, for his part, came in fifth place, with 7 per cent.
Opinion: Retired generals render election platforms unfeasible [Egypt Independent, English, 5/10/2012]
So-called revolutionary candidates must either be fools or playing the fool. They have published long platforms replete with romanticized ideas for the development of the country, all while ignoring the fact that the military menaces their rosy dreams, having forcibly seized most of the senior bureaucratic and economic positions in Egypt. None of the presidential hopefuls have so far tackled the issue of demilitarizing the Egyptian state, be it out of fear, ignorance or a desire to continue playing the fool.
Egypt maximum wage finally set for July: Official [Ahram Online, English, 5/13/2012]
A long-awaited cap on public sector wages will take effect at the start of the coming financial year, say sources, but parliament is still debating the details. In December, a decree from Egypt’s ruling military set a national maximum wage at 35 times the minimum wage of a low-level employee at the same government body. Parliament is currently debating revisions to the decree which will then be submitted to the lower house for a vote, El-Nahas explained.
Political groups to meet Wednesday on Constituent Assembly formation [Egypt Independent, English, 5/13/2012]
Abdel Meguid, a member of the committee tasked with resolving the issue, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that nine members of religious institutions will be part of the 100-member assembly that will write the constitution: five from Al-Azhar, two from the Coptic Orthodox Church, one from the Catholic Church and one from the evangelical church. Judges and constitutional experts will be represented by 15 seats, and syndicates will have eight seats. Public figures will be chosen by the end of the meeting, represented by 10 members. Hatem Abdel Azim, a member of Parliament’s legislative committee, said, “The Constituent Assembly issue will end this week, and the committee will finalize a draft of the standards.
Doctors Syndicate chief threatens to hold sit-in if health budget not raised [Egypt Independent, English, 5/14/2012][Al Masry Al Youm, Arabic, 5/14/2012]
Doctors Syndicate head Khairy Abdel Dayem sharply criticized the Cabinet for allocating only 4.8 percent of the budget for the new fiscal year to the entire health sector, as opposed to the 15 percent doctors have been calling for over the past few months. The Cabinet will soon submit the budget to the People’s Assembly for discussion and approval. Abdel Dayem told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the syndicate would organize a sit-in if the health budget allocation remains at 4.8 percent.
Egypt CB resumes talks over $3.2bn IMF loan [Ahram Online, English, 5/13/2012]
Central bank head Farouq El-Oqda relaunches negotiations with IMF in Washington for proposed $3.2 billion loan to Egypt, state press reports Sunday. Official IMF sources expect delivery of the first tranche of the loan – worth a total of $1billion – in July, following Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential elections slated for later this month, Al-Ahram reported. El-Oqda’s negotiations with the multilateral organisation will reportedly be based on the government’s economic reform programme, leaked in March, which proposed raising public revenues and rationing state subsidies.
Citizen complaints over corruption up 54% in 2011 [Egypt Independent, English, 5/13/2012]
The head of the Administrative Prosecution said 99,830 citizen complaints were filed for cases of corruption in 2011, a 54 percent increase from the 53,720 the year before. Timour Kamel, the prosecution head, said the increase means citizens are no longer afraid to report such cases since the 25 January revolution.
Egypt’s Nile water quota unchanged since 1955, says irrigation minister [Egypt Independent, English, 5/13/2012]
Irrigation minister Hesham Mohamed Qandil told the Parliament Agriculture and Irrigation Committee on Sunday that Egypt’s Nile water quota of 5.55 billion cubic meters has not changed since 1955. Qandil explained that the per capita share of water has decreased due to an increase in irrigation and population. Parliament accused the ministry of failing to prevent Nile Basin countries from building dams, which reduced Egypt’s quota to 32 billion cubic meters last year.
Photo Credit: Arabiya