Top News: Eight Governorates Say ‘No’ to New Governors


President Mohamed Morsi’s gubernatorial reshuffle has sparked protests and sit-ins in at least eight governorates. Protests against the Morsi appointees have so far been reported in Menoufiya, Gharbiya, Damietta, Beheira, Alexandria, Tanta, Mahalla, and Qalyubia. 


Egypt presidency will deal ‘wisely’ with opposition protests
The Egyptian presidency is committed to dealing ‘wisely’ with opposition protests on June 30, presidential advisor for political affairs Pakinam al-Sharqawi has said. The presidency will take all necessary legal measures to prevent violence at the protests, al-Sharqawi added during an interview on state TV on Tuesday. The Egyptian Popular Current Movement has invited several opposition groups to a conference on Friday evening to discuss the current political situation and the planned June 30 protests against President Mohamed Morsi. The event will coincide with rallies against political violence being planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups. [Ahram Online, 6/19/2013]

Egypt tourism minister resigns over ‘ex-militant’ Luxor governor
Egypt’s Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou tendered his resignation on Tuesday over President Mohamed Morsi’s decision to appoint as governor of Luxor a member of a hard-line Islamist group blamed for slaughtering up to fifty-eight tourists there in 1997. Prime Minister Hisham Qandil did not accept the resignation, asking him to remain in the post for now. However, the move pointed to a split in government over an appointment that one critic called "the last nail in the coffin" of the tourism industry. Sixteen years ago, Adel Mohamed al-Khayat was a member of the militant group blamed for slaughtering fifty-eight tourists in Egypt’s Valley of the Queens; today he’s promising to keep visitors safe. In a telephone interview with Reuters, the sixty-year-old governor declared: "Luxor is open to all tourists from all over the world. They are my main concern and are looked after by the state, which is responsible for their security and their wellbeing." Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Rasha al-Azzazi said the tourism industry suffered grave loss after al-Khayat’s appointment. [Ahram Online, Reuters/Aswat Masriya, SIS, EGYNews (Arabic), 6/19/2013]

Shura Council discusses judicial authority law, penal code, criminal procedure

Minister of Justice Ahmed Suleiman received a request from Dr. Ahmed Fahmy, Chairman of the Shura Council, asking the opinion of relevant authorities and judicial bodies on proposals for amending some provisions of the Judicial Authority Law (No. 46 of 1972). The Subcommittee on Constitutional and Legislative Affairs concluded drafting three proposals amending some provisions of the draft law, but asked for proposal and changes from the judicial authorities to ensure draft legislation in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and to take into account concerns over judicial independence. The committee also began debate over the penal code and law of criminal procedure to correct gaps in criminal financing that emerged during the transitional period. [Youm7 (Arabic), 6/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Government holds workshop on women’s political rights | DNE
NCW responds to Shura’s questions on members in the governorates | Shorouk (Arabic)
Morsi discusses challenges facing Egypt with Azhar Sheikh, Pope | Aswat Masriya, SIS
President Morsi meets with Wasat party leaders to discuss initiative | Aswat Masriya
Morsi launches “A Year of Egyptian Presidency” page on Facebook | Facebook


Prosecutor appeals court order to release Mubarak

An Egyptian court ordered the release of toppled President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday on charges of illicit gains, but a prosecutor appealed the order. Mubarak will remain in custody pending investigations on other corruption charges. The prosecutor said that the ousted president failed to pay off his debts. A criminal court adjourned the former president’s retrial last week in the case of killing protesters during the 2011 uprising that ousted him. [Aswat Masriya, 6/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Prosecution orders arrest of Quran reciter for sexually harassing children | Egypt Independent
Former Egyptian oil minister’s retrial to begin on July 29 | Ahram Online


Egypt Islamists blame violence on opposition, calm restored in Gharbiya

Protests continued yesterday in Gharbiya, Damietta, Beheira, Alexandria, Tanta, Mahalla, and Qalyubia in objection to the appointment of new governors belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. Calm returned to Gharbiya governorate Wednesday morning. Clashes broke out in several of these governorates between opponents and supporters causing some casualties on both sides. The Muslim brotherhood on Wednesday blamed the secular and liberal opposition for this wave of violence stating that their refusal to meet Morsi was a cause. [Egypt Independent, Ahram (Arabic), AP, EGYNews (Arabic), 6/19/2013]

Prisons will not be stormed on June 30: Interior Minister
Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has said that the Republican Guard are responsible for securing the presidential palace, not the police whose duty is to protect protesters. The minister assured the CBC satellite channel on Monday evening that prisons are a "red line" and will not be stormed during demonstrations planned for the end of this month. He warned that those who attempt to storm prisons will face serious consequences in accordance with the law. The interior minister explained that every political party is responsible for protecting its own headquarters, adding that Egypt does not have enough resources to deploy forces to all headquarters. A national campaign was launched by the interior ministry about a month ago to capture bandits and confiscate illegal arms, Ibrahim said, adding that the police apparatus is a national institution whose purpose is to protect citizens. [Aswat Masriya, 6/18/2013]

Also of Interest:
Two killed and fourteen injured from ammunitions depot explosion | DNE


EU’s billion-euro aid to Egypt ‘ineffective’: Audit

A billion Euros of EU aid channeled to Egypt before and after the January 2011 failed to improve human rights or reduce corruption, auditors said Tuesday. The Luxembourg-based agency said the one billion euro ($1.3 billion) package for Egypt from 2007 to 2013 was funneled primarily into the state budget, despite graft and a lack of transparency in public spending. Management of the support did not improve after a 2011 overhaul of EU aid policy – introduced after the Arab Spring pro-democracy revolts – that said funds should be more closely tied to progress in democratic reforms. The report said that around 60 percent of the approximately one billion Euros sent to Egypt over the 2007-2013 period went to the government as budget support, the rest through projects agreed with the Egyptian authorities. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 6/18/2013]

Egypt economy growth rate hits 2.2 percent in 2012/13: Investment Minister

Egypt’s growth rate stands at 2.2 percent for the current 2012/13 fiscal year ending June 30, the same rate seen in the last fiscal year, al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news website reported Tuesday, citing Egypt’s investment minister. At a Tuesday press conference, Investment Minister Yehia Hamed announced that the Egyptian economy remained constant, despite the poor growth rate. He attributed the latter to the country’s large budget deficit, which currently stands at LE220 billion (roughly $31.4 billion), representing 11.5 percent of national GDP. He said on Monday he aimed to boost Egypt’s anaemic economic growth to as high as 7 percent in two years by improving the environment for private investors. Egypt’s economy was growing at about 7 percent annually for several years before the uprising. But even that pace was barely enough to produce work for the large number of Egyptian youths entering the job market – one of the drivers of the protests. [Ahram Online, Reuters/Aswat Masriya, 6/18/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s public-sector workforce rose 2 percent in 2012/13: CAPMAS | Ahram Online
Shura council recommends cutting Information Technology Industry budget | Youm7 (Arabic)
Investment Minister: June 30 protests worries exaggerated | SIS


Eight governorates say ‘No’ to new governors
President Mohamed Morsi’s gubernatorial reshuffle has sparked protests and sit-ins in at least eight governorates. Protests against the Morsi appointees have so far been reported in Luxor, Menoufiya, Dakahliya, Gharbiya, Damietta, Beheira, Alexandria, and Qalyubia. Clashes in Tanta, Egypt’s third largest city, between Muslim Brotherhood members and activists demonstrating against the appointment of a new governor drawn from the Brotherhood were met with tear gas by Egyptian police on Tuesday. In Menoufiya governorate in northern Egypt, dozens of members of opposition groups, including members of the April 6 Youth Movement, al-Tagammu Party, and the Progressive Youth Party have continued their strike in front of the governorate offices for the second consecutive day. [DNE, Ahram Online, Youm7 (Arabic), 6/19/2013]

Tamarod reaches fifteen million signatures, says campaign official

Tamarod has gathered more than fifteen million petition signatures demanding President Mohamed Morsi’s resignation and calling for early presidential elections. Mohamed Abdel Aziz, a member of the campaign’s central committee, said Tamarod will soon hold a press conference to announce the total number of petitions gathered, adding that the figure will be a surprise to Egyptians and Morsi alike. Gabha Youth Organisation (GYO) announced on Tuesday the commencement of “independence week” on June 25, set to include several events in preparation for June 30. However, there has been increased violence. In Gharbiya, a group demonstrators attempted to break into the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters on Tuesday, an eyewitness said, hurling petrol bombs and stones at the building. Pro-Morsi supporters have vowed to defend the president with counter-demonstrations. Police have signaled they want to stay out of the conflict. The powerful military, widely suspected to be at odds with the president, is keeping its cards close to its chest. As a result, fears are high of potential violence on June 30. [Egypt Independent, DNE, Ahram Online, AP, Youm7 (Arabic), 6/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Labor strike paralyses Egypt’s state-run Rose al-Yousef media house | Ahram Online
Protests planned to save Cairo, Alex historical sites from demolition | Ahram Online
Alexandria theatre ‘occupation’ enters fourth day | Ahram Online
Culture Ministry protest continues for fifteenth day | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt opposition group criticizes ‘blatant interference’ by US ambassador

Egypt’s National Association for Change (NAC) has criticized comments by US ambassador to Cairo Anne Patterson regarding the Egyptian army and opposition protests on June 30. At a meeting with political parties and NGOs on Tuesday, Patterson said the US would not welcome the return of the army to power as an alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood. Patterson said the US was in direct contact with senior leaders in the Egyptian army. The army does not want to retake power because it fears its relations with the Egyptian people would worsen, Patterson added. NAC spokesperson Ahmed al-Noqr said in a statement on Wednesday that Patterson’s statements were a "blatant interference" in Egypt’s internal affairs. He called on the foreign ministry to summon Patterson to "warn her against repeating them again [and] tell her she would be considered unwelcome in the country if she did." The Egyptian army is a national institution "that belongs to the people and does not receive orders from abroad," al-Noqr added. [Ahram Online, 6/19/2013]

Ashton returns to Egypt
The high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice-president of the European Commission will meet President Mohamed Morsi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr, as well as other ministers as well as Egyptian opposition figures to tackle relations between Egypt and the EU. Her visit and talks in Egypt are expected to touch on the Egyptian stance on the Syrian conflict and the planned Geneva II conference to push for a peaceful settlement in Syria. “No political compromise can be reached [in Syria] without Egypt’s diplomatic clout,” Moran said, according to State Information Services. [DNE, SIS, 6/18/2013]

Also of Interest:
UAE charges 30 suspects with plotting coup | AP
FM, FJP criticize al-Erian’s UAE remarks | AFP
In recording attributed to Mubarak, he says he refused U.S. bases | Aswat Masriya
Egypt, Ethiopia agree to talks about Nile Dam | AP
Ethiopia, Egypt tone down talk of war over Nile dam | Aswat Masriya
Egypt and Ethiopia resume discussions on Nile crisis | Aswat Masriya
Three-way consultations on Renaissance Dam kick off | SIS

Photo: EgyPresidency

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