Top News: January 30, 2012

Mohammed Badie poster Tahrir

The SCAF is considering ways to speed up the transition to civilian rule, including moving up the date for presidential elections.


1) Mohammed El-Kholy, a member of the SCAF-appointed advisory council, said the civilian body is holding special meetings to recommend shortening the transition. A different member of the Advisory Council with whom I spoke today said that some council members are amenable to moving the presidential election up to May, “but no sooner.”  [Washington Post, English, 1/30/2012] 

2) Farouk Sultan, president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, announced that planning and preparations for the presidential election will begin next week.  [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 1/30/2012] 

3) Polling for the Shura Council came to a close today. Monitors with whom I spoke in Cairo reported very low turnout and a general mood of apathy, particularly in light of recent statements by Mohamed ElBaradei and other public figures recommending that the upper house of parliament be abolished entirely in the new constitution. In downtown Cairo, the vast majority of campaign propaganda I saw was for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi Nour Party. 

4) Field Marshal Tantawi met with Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri and speaker of the People’s Assembly Saad al-Katatny to discuss recent developments and “different arrangements for managing the country during the transitional period.” [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 1/30/2012] 


5) The Muslim Brotherhood’s party leader in the People’s Assembly, Hussein Ibrahim, states that parliament has the authority to revise, amend or even annul any law issued by the SCAF since assuming executive powers on February 11 of last year. [al-Ahram, English, 1/30/2012] 

6) Mohamed ElBaradei issued a new proposal calling for parliament to elect a temporary president pending the drafting of a new constitution. Mohamed ElBaradei had originally recommended that a constitution be drafted before any elections last year, under the oversight of an interim civilian presidential council. [The Guardian, English, 1/30/2012] 


7) A U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Kate Starr, reported that a number of Americans whom Egyptian authorities have been barred from leaving the country have sought refuge at the American Embassy in Cairo. [WSJ, English, 1/30/2012] 

8) Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday it has ended a contract with three Washington lobbying firms to cut expenses, denying reports that the Americans were the ones to sever the contract. The Foreign Ministry’s statement was issued two days after Politico reported that former Republican Rep. Bob Livingston, former Democratic Rep. Toby Moffett and longtime lobbyist Tony Podesta ended their contract with the Egyptian government. [Washington Post, English, 1/30/2012] 


9) A Cairo criminal court has adjourned proceedings in the ongoing trial of Hosni Mubarak, former interior minister Habib al-Adly and five of the latter’s assistants until January 30. The move followed the sudden death of a chief defense lawyer on January 29. [al-Ahram, English, 1/30/2012]

Photo credit: Getty Images.

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