Top News: Morsi May Draw Shura Council Nominees from Non-Islamist Groups

Brahimi in Cairo.jpg

President Mohamed Morsi is set to appoint non-Islamist members to the Shura Council, which will begin legislating if the new constitution is approved. According to the Constitutional Declaration of 2011, the upper house of Parliament is to be composed of two-thirds elected members and one-third presidential appointees. 


Morsi may draw Shura Council nominees from non-Islamist groups
President Mohamed Morsi is set to appoint non-Islamist members to the Shura Council, which will begin legislating if the new constitution is approved. According to the Constitutional Declaration of 2011, the upper house of Parliament is to be composed of two-thirds elected members and one-third presidential appointees. The Turkish Anadolu news agency, citing sources close to the president’s office, reported Wednesday that Morsi has formed a committee, headed by Justice Minter Ahmed Mekky, to suggest appointees. Mekky’s committee is insisting that appointed members be public figures, affiliated with new parties that are not already represented in the Shura Council, according to the news agency. [Egypt Independent, 12/19/2012]

Moussa warns Morsi administration against continuing referendum
Former presidential candidate and Egyptian National Congress Party head Amr Moussa threatened a harsh reaction if the government insists on implementing measures harmful to Egypt, such as the draft constitution that is currently under referendum. Moussa issued the statement on his Facebook page on Tuesday evening. Political forces organized anti-referendum marches to the presidential palace and Tahrir Square today. Leading those forces was the National Salvation Front, a group of secular forces led by Moussa, former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi and Constitution Party leader Mohamed ElBaradei. [Egypt Independent, 12/18/2012]

Egypt opposition rejects talks on constitution with Constituent Assembly
Ahmed El-Borai, secretary of the National Salvation Front (NSF), an umbrella organisation of opposition groups, has rejected the Constituent Assembly’s invitation for dialogue on the constitution. In an interview with the Al-Ahram Arabic website on Tuesday, El-Borai questioned the authority of the assembly to call for the meeting because it was "dissolved the moment the constitution draft was finalised." [Ahram Online, DNE, 12/19/2012]

Also of Interest:
Morsi will not appoint new prosecutor-general: El-Erian | Ahram Online
PM calls for resorting to reason, ending work stoppages | SIS


Round one referendum results marred by reports of critical violations
Many took to the streets of Cairo and elsewhere Tuesday, after a call from the National Salvation Front and other political powers to protest voting irregularities committed during the first phase of the referendum on the draft constitution. Many monitoring groups and opposition forces slammed the process for wide-scale violations, which they say are enough to delegitimize the whole process, and are as serious as poll violations that took place under the Mubarak regime. The allegations come in the midst of a growing polarization between Islamist forces campaigning for a “yes” vote on the draft, and their opponents who slam the constitution for its non-representative nature. [Egypt Independent, 12/19/2012]

Brotherhood to SJC: Don’t accept prosecutor general’s resignation
The Muslim Brotherhood has called on the Supreme Judicial Council to reject Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah’s resignation, and to denounce prosecutors for assaulting him. The council has said it would decide whether or not to accept Abdallah’s resignation on Sunday. Abdallah announced his resignation on Monday after prosecutors had demonstrated outside his office demanding that he leave his position. In a statement issued on Monday, the Brotherhood said the prosecutors forced Abdallah to resign with threats, something that was unprecedented in the history of the judiciary. The called it a violation of the judiciary’s independence, dignity, immunity and freedom. [Egypt Independent, 12/18/2012]

Presidency responds to SCC
The presidency denied offending the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) Tuesday, in a statement released by the president’s assistant to foreign media Essam Al-Haddad, Friday.
The SCC had accused the presidency, in a statement released Monday, of lying to the court and attempting to “undermine its reputation internationally… without giving one piece of truthful evidence to support its allegations and claims.” The presidency said that Friday’s statement was not targeted at international media; it was aimed at highlighting the current political situation, reported state-owned Al-Ahram. [DNE, SIS, 12/18/2012]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s referendum monitor will not work during 2nd phase of poll | Ahram Online
Egyptian judges in Ismailiya to oversee referendum after ending strike | Ahram Online
Pro-Morsi protesters attack supreme court head’s car | Egypt Independent
Egyptian minorities oppose constitutional referendum | DNE
Innocent verdict for police man accused of killing protesters in Suez in January 2011 | EGYNews (Arabic)


IMF loan delay could damage Egypt’s credit rating: Moody’s 
Egypt’s request to postpone a long-awaited IMF loan due to recent political unrest could lead to a downgrade in the country’s credit rating, credit rating agency Moody’s said in a report on Monday. The report also hinted that the recent stabilisation of the country’s external balance of payments and government finances is weakening as a direct consequence of the current political faceoff. [Ahram Online, 12/18/2012]

FDA lends €430mn to Egypt during 2012
The French Development Agency (FDA) has contributed €430mn to the Egyptian economy in 2012, the highest since the beginning of its mandate in Egypt. Jean-Pierre Marcelli, head of the FDA Egypt, told Daily News Egypt that, “2012 has been an historical year for our action in Egypt, marking the highest contribution level that reached €430mn.” He added: “We are committed to help our partners in difficult times.” [DNE, 12/18/2012]

Cabinet approves draft for Islamic financing, in principle
At its meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Dr. Hisham Qandil, the cabinet approved in principle a draft law sovereign Islamic Sukuk, and refered it to the legislative ministerial group, in preparation for submission to the legislature. The law regulates the terms and procedures for the issuance of this type of financing mechanism. It determines the instruments of financing, leasing, and investment, as regulated by law, and determines the bodies authorized to issue them. [Shorouk (Arabic), 12/19/2012]


Hazemoon member arrested
Police investigation officers arrested a member of Hazemoon Salafi group on Wednesday, on charges of being responsible for the attacks on Al-Wafd party. Hazemoon is the official political group supporting disqualified presidential candidate Hazem Salah. Ahmed Arafa, an engineer, was arrested early Wednesday morning, while his mother claimed that police forces stormed the house without a warrant. On a video broadcast on YouTube, Arafa’s mother said more than 10 police officers broke into the house, beat her and her son, and took his laptop, car and mobile phone. She added that the officers told her they had a search warrant, but that they refused to show it. “My son rarely participated in any protests. He is peaceful and he did not harm anyone. My message to Morsi is: don’t let these people treat us like this again.” The Freedom and Justice Party denounced Arafa’s arrest. [DNE, EGYNews (Arabic), 12/19/2012]


Russia may ease Muslim Brotherhood ban to boost Egypt ties
Russia may ease restrictions on the Muslim Brotherhood soon to improve relations with Egypt and rebuild influence lost during the Arab Spring revolutions, diplomatic sources say. Russia’s Supreme Court banned the Muslim Brotherhood from operating in Russia in 2003, describing it as a terrorist organization. But Moscow is now trying to beef up ties with Egypt, partly to offset some of the influence it has lost in the Arab world in the past two years, particularly in countries such as Libya and Syria that have been recipients of Russian arms. [Egypt Independent, 12/19/2012]

UN special envoy visits Cairo for Syria meetings
UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi visited Cairo on Tuesday for meetings on the Syrian crisis after President Mohamed Morsi discussed plans for establishing a headquarters for the Syrian opposition coalition in Egypt. Brahimi, the joint special representative of the Arab League and the United Nations, met Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil El-Araby and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Amr. [DNE, 12/18/2012]

Click here to have Egypt Source’s daily news updates delivered to your inbox.

Photo: MFA

Image: Brahimi%20in%20Cairo.jpg