Top News: Egypt Appoints New Central Bank Governor

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has appointed Tarek Amer as the new governor of Egypt’s Central Bank following the resignation of Hisham Ramez. Amer, who previously served as First Deputy Governor of the Bank, will take charge of the Central Bank after the end of Ramez’s term ends on November 26, the presidency said. From 2008 to 2013, Amer served as chairman of the state-owned National Bank of Egypt, where the presidency said he undertook reforms that were “applauded by regional and international financial institutions.” The decision comes less than a week after multiple depreciations of the Egyptian pound. Ramez has faced increasing criticism in recent months as the Egyptian pound has come under pressure and reserves have tumbled. London based Capital Economics said that the announcement suggests a further devaluation of the Egyptian pound. On Tuesday, the Central Bank decided to hold the pound steady. Egypt’s Finance Ministry said Tuesday that Egypt’s budget deficit in the first two months of the fiscal year stands at 2.4 percent. [ReutersAPAhram OnlineBloombergDNE, 10/21/2015]


Widespread runoff expected for independent seats; Nour Party reportedly sees significant defeat
Preliminary results from the first stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections showed on Tuesday that the majority of the individual seats will witness a run-off round. Only four out of 226 independent seats contested in the first phase were reportedly secured in the first round. According to unofficial tallies the four candidates are TV presenter Abdel Rehim Ali (Giza), Mohamed Hamdy al-Desouky, (Assiut), Mohamed Eid Abdel Gawad (Assiut), and Gamal Adam (New Valley). Meanwhile, the Free Egyptians Party says it will have sixty-five candidates in the run-off, while the Wafd Party will reportedly have twenty-five. The Mostaqbal Watan Party said it is contesting forty-eight seats. The Nour Party has said it has up to thirty out of 160 independent candidates in the run-off, but some media reports say almost none of its candidates qualified. Semi-official results also show that the Fi Hob Misr coalition won the party list seats, over the Salafist Nour Party in the West Delta. The Nour Party is meeting Thursday to discuss the results, with some media reports claiming the party is considering withdrawing from the second phase of elections. Researcher of Islamic movements Kamal Habib said campaigns organized by the Muslim Brotherhood against Nour had a negative effect on the party’s popularity. Fi Hob Misr meanwhile reportedly secured most of the expat vote. The Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) announced Tuesday none of its candidates won or made it to the run-offs in the first stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections. Run-offs will take place on October 27 and 28. [Ahram Online, 10/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Judges kill boredom of elections by chatting, studying lawsuits in polling stations | AMAY
  • Egyptian women, ‘the icon of national action’ vote more than men, experts divided on motives (Analysis) | Aswat Masriya
  • Forty-four cases of violation against journalists during elections according to watchdog report | DNE
  • Initial vote counts reflect a waning glamour of veteran parties | AMAY, Al Monitor
  • 30,531 Egyptians abroad vote in first stage of parliamentary elections says HEC | Ahram Online, DNE, SIS, Cairo Post


Sixteen alleged Brotherhood members referred to military trial
The Military Prosecution in Tanta referred Monday sixteen alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood members to military court on charges of killing three military academy students in Kafr al-Sheikh last April. Salah Attia, a Brotherhood official in Kafr al-Sheikh, is among the defendants. The defendants face charges of murder, committing acts of terror, and belonging to a banned group. They are accused of the murder of three military academy students who died of injuries sustained from an IED explosion targeting a bus carrying military academy students near Kafr al-Sheikh Stadium. [DNE, 10/20/2015]

Student reportedly arrested for photo exhibtiion supporting Palestine
Alexandria University student Abdallah Shaltout was reportedly arrested and transferred to al-Atareen prison on Tuesday, according to a statement by grassroots movement Freedom for the Brave. The group said the student was arrested after staging a photo exhibition in solidarity with Palestine. They added that his lawyer was prevented from attending the investigations, with security officers telling him they were following orders. Freedom for the Brave said in a separate statement that Shaltout will be referred to prosecution on Wednesday. [FTB, 10/19/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Companies clash with military over ad rights | Mada Masr
  • Mortada Mansour charged with assault of candidate running against his son | Cairo Post


CIHRS says human rights deteriorating in Arab region, governments hostile to reform
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) published its sixth annual report on the human rights situation in the Arab world in 2014 Monday, identifying the most widespread human rights violations. Increased extrajudicial killing combined with systematic impunity, the systematic curtailment of human rights activities and civil society, and the disregard of human rights based on ostensible security and counterterrorism grounds were among the most widespread types of violations. On Egypt, the report states that since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the security forces and the army have been implicated in “extensive assaults” on Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters. The report also accused most governments, including Egypt, of using lethal force to curtail popular protests or peaceful sit-ins. Human rights defenders in Egypt have been subjected to “systematic persecution and arbitrary restrictions on their right of expression, association and peaceful assembly in 2014.” The report also outlined other types of widespread violations including; the curtailment of media and freedom of expression and opinion, the use of the judiciary as a tool to eliminate political opponents, and hardships faced by religious and ethnic minorities. [DNE, 10/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • One year after Sovaldi: Why Egypt needs billions to beat Hepatitis C | Ahram Online
  • Workshop hopes to raise children’s awareness of sexual harassment | AMAY
  • Toshka sees first solar-powered water well | AMAY
  • Ibrahimeya City residents protest daily water cuts | AMAY
  • Foreign media decry ‘Arab Winter’ amid accusations of ‘tarnishing Egypt’s image’ | Aswat Masriya
  • Tutankhamun’s beard to be restored after hasty use of epoxy glue | AP
  • Endowment Ministry warns against Shiite rituals on Day of Ashura | Cairo Post


Conscripts injured in North Sinai al-Arish bombing
Ten police conscripts were injured on Wednesday in a blast that targeted a tank in North Sinai’s al-Arish, state news agency MENA reported. According to some reports, an officer was also injured in the attack. Security sources said that a bomb detonated while the tank was patrolling al-Zohoor neighbourhood, and the security personnel sustained minor injuries, according to Al-Ahram. Following the blast, security forces combed the surrounding areas for more bombs. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. [Ahram Online, Cairo Post, 10/21/2015]

Alleged terrorist cell arrested for threatening judges
A ‘terrorist cell’ was reportedly arrested after allegedly threatening judges during the parliamentary elections. Suspected members of the Muslim Brotherhood were said to have sent threatening messages to judges responsible for monitoring the parliamentary elections. A number of the alleged members were arrested in position of USB sticks and other equipment. [Cairo Post, 10/21/2015]


Sisi’s visit to London tops agenda of Prime Minister’s talks with UK Ambassador
President Abdel Fattah al Sisi’s upcoming visit to London topped the agenda of Prime Minister Sherif Ismail’s talks with UK Ambassador in Cairo John Casson, according to a statement by State Information Service. Cabinet Spokesman Hossam Qawish said Egypt-UK ties were also discussed during the meeting. Sisi’s visit to the United Kingdom will focus on political, economic, and cultural cooperation. Casson also held a separate meeting with Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr to discuss Sisi’s London visit.  [SIS, 10/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt elected president of WTO executive council for 2016 | SIS
  • Egypt, FAO ink agreement to decrease food waste | SIS
  • Egypt, Saudis discuss new system to evaluate pilgrimage operators | AMAY
  • Foreign Minister discusses Syria, Libya with German counterpart | SIS
  • 78 Africans, 240 Egyptians arrested over illegal immigration to Italy, Libya | Cairo Post
  • Chief of Staff heads Egyptian military delegation in Jordan visit | DNE
  • Egypt, Jordan Foreign Ministers discuss tension in Palestinian territories | SIS
  • Egyptian and Jordanian forces perform rescue exercise of sunken ferry | AMAY