A limited cabinet reshuffle may help diffuse rising tensions between government and the Islamist-dominated parliament. Four New ministers will be delivering their oath of office in front of Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), later on Thursday, Ahram Arabic news gate reported. Mohamed Abdul Hameed El-Nashar, was appointed to the Ministry of Higher Education instead of Hussein Khaled, and Mohamed Saber Arab to the Ministry of culture instead of Emad Abu Ghazy. Fathy Fakry, minister of Manpower and Immigration, was replaced by Refaat Mohamed Hassan. Omar Mohamed Salem will head the newly established Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
The endorsement by Borhamy’s influential Salafi Dawah and its political party, Nour, has pushed Aboul Fotouh towards the front of the pack and undercut Mohamed Morsy, the candidate of the rival Muslim Brotherhood. But it has divided Salafis, who number as many as 3 million devotees plus other sympathizers among Egypt’s 82 million people. Their votes could help swing the 23-24 May election. Some Salafis doubt Aboul Fotouh’s commitment to implementing Islamic sharia law, and believe his courting of liberals in his television and press appearances shows he is too ready to compromise.
2) Abouel Fotouh and Moussa to face off in first-ever televised presidential debate [Egypt Independent, English, 5/10/2012]
Presidential front-runners Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh and Amr Moussa will appear in Egypt’s first-ever televised presidential debate on Thursday evening. The first half will focus on the candidate’s views on the constitution and powers of the presidential office, while the second will address electoral platforms, the judiciary, security and other issues. The debate will take place at 7:30pm (1:30pm ET) and can be viewed here.
3) SPEC to keep Shafiq in presidential race despite Mubarak-minister law [Ahram Online, English, 5/10/2012]
Former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq will not be banned from presidential elections, says sources from electoral commission, despite Administrative Court’s attempt to reinstate Disenfranchisement Law banning Mubarak-era ministers. This comes after Tuesday’s statement by the High Administrative Court that said SPEC has no legal right to refer the Disenfranchisement Law to the Constitutional Court in order to determine whether it is constitutional or not. Shafiq is currently the third most popular presidential candidate, according to three recent opinion polls.
4) Egypt presidential elections to proceed as planned, SPEC says [Ahram Online, English, 5/10/2012]
Egypt’s Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) announced Wednesday night that upcoming elections would be held on schedule, disregarding an earlier decision by a lower administrative court suspending presidential elections set for 23 and 24 May. Wednesday, the country’s ruling military council affirmed in a statement that presidential elections will be held on time, after concerns arose about the postponement of the elections following the SPEC’s suspension of its activities Monday. The SPEC announced plans to resume its activity after having suspended it on Monday to protest perceived parliamentary interference in its affairs.
5) Four new Egypt ministers to deliver oath on Thursday [Ahram Online, English, 5/10/2012] [Al Youm Al Sabi`, Arabic, 5/10/2012]
A limited cabinet reshuffle in Cairo comes to diffuse a long-standing showdown between the government and the Islamist-dominated parliament. Four New ministers will be delivering their oath of office in front of Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), later on Thursday, Ahram Arabic news gate reported. Mohamed Abdul Hameed El-Nashar, was appointed to the Ministry of Higher Education instead of Hussein Khaled, and Mohamed Saber Arab to the Ministry of culture instead of Emad Abu Ghazy. Fathy Fakry, minister of Manpower and Immigration, was replaced by Refaat Mohamed Hassan. Omar Mohamed Salem will head the newly established Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
6) US official: QIZ will not be affected by halted gas exports [Egypt Independent, English, 5/9/2012]
Israel welcomes the introduction of new areas into the Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) agreement, said an economic official from the US Embassy in Egypt on Wednesday. Under the QIZ deal, Egyptian exports recorded some US$1 billion in 2011, despite the sluggish economy in Egypt and the conditions that resulted from the revolution and despite the weak economic growth in the US. US aid will provide further support for the training and rehabilitation of the workforce and for the development of education in order to benefit exports.
7) Brotherhood’s Renaissance Project not ‘fanatical,’ says Shater [Egypt Independent, English, 5/10/2012]
“We [the Brotherhood] are not speaking about a specific vision that we are fanatical about; there should be a preliminary proposal for dialogue at which all academic and practical parties should take part,” Shater said in reference to the electoral platform. "We should acknowledge the experiences of other countries that have achieved economic progress, like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, and know the incentives they offered to investors.”
8) Al-Azhar rejects laws annulling its religious reference [Egypt Independent, English, 5/9/2012]
Al-Azhar rejects any laws concerning its role that were not primarily drafted by members of the institution, Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb said in a statement on Wednesday. While Tayyeb welcomed criticism, particularly from Parliament, he said Al-Azhar would not agree to be deprived of the status it has acquired over a thousand years in Egypt and the Islamic world, and to be transformed into a mere school of theology.
9) Moussa: Mubarak impeded improvement of Egyptian-Iranian relations [Egypt Independent, English, 5/9/2012]
Presidential candidate Amr Moussa on Tuesday called for dialogue to end disputes between Iran and Arab states. Moussa said that following his appointment as Foreign Minister in 1991, he had conducted a number of calls with Iranian officials but former President Mubarak ordered him to cut off all communication with Iran. Egypt has been allied with the US and Israel for decades, but since the ouster of Mubarak relations between Cairo and Tehran have warmed.
10) Saudi Arabia, Egypt ink $500 assistance package [Bikya Masr, English, 5/10/2012]
Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative to the Arab League Ahmad Abdul-Aziz Kattan declared that within the framework of Saudi support to Egypt, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding stipulating that Saudi Arabia will assist Egypt with $500 million, a press release stated. Kattan added that Saudi Arabia has also met Egypt’s request to import $250 million worth of butane gas.
Photo Credit: CS Monitor