Top News: Electoral Commission Suspends Work Under Criticism from Parliament

Hatem Begato, SPEC head

The Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) announced that it will suspend its work in the face of insults and criticism from members of parliament.


1) Parliament approves amending recently approved presidential elections law [Ahram Online, English, 5/8/2012]

The People’s Assembly (the lower house of parliament) has agreed to amend the presidential elections law in relation to Article 28, which grants the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) immunity from appeal. Article 28, which makes part of the constitutional declaration, had been criticized by a number of MPs, and has also come under fire from activists.

2) Presidential commission halts work after receiving criticism from Parliament [Egypt Independent, English, 5/8/2012]

The elections committee said members of Parliament had expressed distrust and insulted its judges, and it called on the ruling army council to intervene to allow the panel to continue its work.

3) Khaled Ali says won’t give up candidacy for another hopeful [Egypt Independent, English, 5/8/2012]

The candidate for president will not drop out of the presidential race to bolster the chances of another candidate, supports the push to amend Article 28 of the Constitutional Declaration ― which makes the Presidential Elections Commission’s decisions immune to legal challenges, and calls for the release of detainees arrested after the army dispersed a sit-in in front of the Defense Ministry last week. 

4) 210 supporters offer their resignation from the Abul Fotouh campaign [Al Dostour, Arabic, 5/8/2012]

Over two hundreds Abul Fotouh supporters issued a statement announcing their resignation from his campaign. The statement claims Abul Fotouh abandoned the victims of the Mohammad Mahmoud St. clashes and took an ambiguous stance on the recent clashes in from of the Ministry of Defense.


5) Cairo-Alex highway reopens after steel plant workers end their blockade [Ahram Online, English, 5/8/2012]

Earlier on Tuesday, 2,000 workers from Beshay Steel factories blocked the key Cairo-Alexandria highway to demand better pay. Around 9,000 workers at four steel factories in Sadat City, 50 km northwest of Cairo, have held sporadic strikes for the last month after negotiations with the company’s management stalled. An initial deal between workers and management was struck three weeks ago, but it failed to resolve the situation due to "the company’s lack of desire to help the workers," according to several news reports on the issue. Cairo’s general traffic department told Ahram that army and police authorities had persuaded the workers to clear the road.                                                         


6) Egypt’s commodities buyer sees bigger food bill [Ahram Online, English, 5/8/2012]

Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, will hike its food purchasing bill for the fiscal year that starts in July from a year earlier to cope with rising global prices as its economy reels from months of political instability. Nomani Nomani, vice chairman of the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said the state budget for fiscal year 2012/13 would include a food purchasing bill exceeding the $24 billion earmarked for 2011/12 that ends in June. Nomani said wheat security for Egypt is a "red line" and the state has always given it a "priority" in terms of funding.

7) Plan to abolish subsidies will distribute fuel with coupons, raise gas prices [Egypt Independent, English, 5/8/2012]

The government is planning the total abolition of subsidies for petroleum products by 2018, with official sources saying gasoline and diesel would be distributed using coupons over five years, and prices of 95 octane gasoline would be raised gradually.

8) Total calls off $6 billion Egypt project over political unrest [Bikya Masr, English, 5/7/2012]

French oil giant Total has put off a $6 billion deal it had made with the Egypt’s PetroChemicals Holding Company (ECHEM) to produce propylene and polypropylene in Suez. The called-off project would have provided 10,000 jobs according to the feasibility study, 50 percent of which was completed, said Egypt’s oil ministry in a statement.


9) 2500 organizations worldwide urge Egypt to join the International Criminal Court [Al Youm Al Sabi`, Arabic, 5/8/2012]

The International Criminal Court Alliance urged Egypt to join the membership of the International Criminal Court, and to demonstrate its commitment to international justice by ratifying the Rome Statute, a convention establishing the court. The Alliance – an international network of more than 2500 organizations from civil society – has targeted Egypt for its universal ratification campaign in May.

Photo Credit: al-Masry al-Youm

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