Top News: Sisi Frees Presidency, Cabinet from Some Public Sector Labor Laws

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree exempting him and the Prime Minister from following public sector labor regulations when it comes to hiring and firing top staffers. Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Service Law, which was ratified in February this year, hold that senior and executive management positions in the public sector must be openly advertised on a government website. Applicants would be evaluated and selected by a committee, and successful applicants would be given three-year contracts with a one-time option to renew, or the right to take up another position of a similar standing at the end of the employment period. After the first thirty days of employment, new hires also have the right to request termination of the contract. Presidential Decree No. 188/2015 exempts the president’s office and the office of the cabinet from both of those articles. [Mada Masr, 5/7/2015]


New electoral alliances might be formed
Civil political parties resumed electoral alliances talks amid speculations that Egypt’s long-awaited parliamentary elections would be held by the end of this summer. Conference Party secretary, Amin Rady, announced that his party is holding talks to form a wider alliance than the Egyptian Front, one of three alliances formed earlier in this year. Although the Conference Party was founded by former President Hosni Mubarak’s long-time Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, he is no longer a member of the party. Assistant General Secretary of Wafd Party Hossam al-Kholy, said that his party is still committed to the For Beloved Egypt alliance it had formed early in 2015. Kholy added, however, that the party’s board will convene soon and decide whether to negotiate with other parties over forming a new alliance. [Cairo Post, 5/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Wafd Party’s internal political crisis deepens | Ahram Online


Al-Azhar students’ appeal refused
Dentistry student Asmaa Hamdy’s appeal to halt a five-year prison sentence against her was rejected on Wednesday, according to Freedom for the Brave, a grassroots initiative that provides support for detainees. According to the Azhar Students against the Coup movement, the prison administration was “intransigent” and prohibited the detainees from attending their appeal session “under the pretext of not having notified the administration of the session’s time.” Hamdy and four other female colleagues, Rufaida Ibrahim, Henady Ahmed, Alaa al-Sayed and Afaf Ahmed, have been in prison for approximately the past year and a half. There is little more that can be done legally speaking, said Students against the Coup spokesperson, Youssef Salahin. [DNE, 5/7/2015]


Egypt’s nine month budget deficit 9.4 percent of GDP
Egypt’s budget deficit since the start of the fiscal year in July 2014 to March 2015 rose to 9.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with 7.3 percent for the same period last year. In February, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said he believed his government’s budget deficit would come in below 10 percent of GDP in the current financial year. Egypt’s GDP is expected to grow 4 percent, up from 2.2 percent last year, he said. [Reuters, 5/7/2015]


EgyptAir pilots withdraw group resignation in response to Sisi’s call
The Egyptian Pilots Association announced on Friday that a group of EgyptAir pilots who had previously announced their collective resignation would withdraw it “for the benefit of their company and in response to the calls of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,” according to a statement. On Wednesday, 224 pilots submitted resignations in objection to a newly issued financial charter, and to demand raises for salaries that have been fixed since 2006. “In response to the calls of the Egyptian president, the association management along with all the pilots have withdrawn all the resignations,” the statement issued early Friday read. The statement also highlighted that the decision of the pilots did not affect EgyptAir flight schedules in any way. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, 5/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Cairo teacher caught on video beating student | Cairo Post
  • NCHR calls for release of detained students found ‘not guilty | DNE


Egypt’s Interior Minister pledges ‘humane’ practices
Egypt’s Interior Minister has said that his staff are working on treating citizens ‘”humanely” after public criticism of police abuses. Magdy Abdel Ghaffar said in a meeting with top security officials on Wednesday that his staff are advising policemen on how to be more aware of the “balance between ensuring security and the rights of citizens… and human rights and freedoms.” Last month, critical reports emerged in local newspapers on the police’s alleged torture and mistreatment of detainees. [Ahram Online, 5/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Two Egyptian policemen arrested for beating up school officials | Ahram Online
  • Military spokesman says three suspected militants killed in Rafah | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt’s Sisi heads to Moscow for second time
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to arrive in Moscow on Friday to participate in the Russian Victory Day celebrations, to be held on Saturday. Saturday marks the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Germany. According to sources, Sisi is also scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday during his two-day visit. The two heads of states will discuss regional and international developments. The Egyptian president first visited Russia in August 2014, while Putin made a trip to Cairo in February 2015. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 5/8/2015]

Seventy-six Egyptian detainees to be released from Saudi prisons
A total of seventy-six Egyptian detainees in Saudi Arabia are to be released, according to a Foreign Ministry statement released on Thursday. Amr Moawad, an assistant to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated that the “pardoning” by Saudi Arabian authorities arrives in light of King Salman’s succession to power. The Foreign Ministry will follow up on the procedures to be taken to release the detainees, the statement said. [DNE, Egypt Independent, 5/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Ethiopia PM thanks Egypt for freeing Libya-held citizens | Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian, Eritrean foreign ministers discuss bilateral relations | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • US Ambassador to Egypt discusses cooperation with Civil Aviation Minister | EGYNews (Arabic)