Egypt’s Presidential Elections Commission has declared former military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi Egypt’s new president, confirming that he won 96.91 percent of the votes in the May election. Meanwhile, the Egyptian government agreed on the Parliamentary Elections and Political Rights draft laws on Wednesday, Aswat Masriya reports.


Thousands celebrate in Tahrir as Sisi wins presidential race with 96.91 percent
Egypt’s Presidential Elections Commission has declared former military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi Egypt’s new president, confirming that he won 96.91 percent of the votes in the May election. Sisi’s sole contender, leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi, took a modest 3.9 percent, the total of which were surpassed by invalid votes. Voter turnout was at 47.5 percent. Sisi will be sworn in as the country’s president on June 8 at 10:30 am, the Supreme Constitutional Court said. The Egyptian government, headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, will convene on Sunday to submit its resignation following Sisi’s oath. Sisi appeared on television an hour after he was named the country’s new leader, declaring that it is now “time for work.” A full translation of his speech can be found here. Sabbahi called Sisi on Tuesday evening following the official announcement to congratulate him and wish him luck in the next period. Thousands packed into Tahrir Square and Heliopolis to celebrate Sisi’s official victory, while Morsi supporters rallied in Kafr al-Sheikh and Minya against the announcement. The Egyptian presidency has extended invitations to twenty-two world leaders to attend Sisi’s inauguration, among them Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Qatar, Turkey, Tunisia and Israel were not invited. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Reuters, Mada Masr, AP, 6/4/2014]

Government Agrees on Parliamentary Elections Draft Law
The Egyptian government agreed on the Parliamentary Elections and Political Rights draft laws on Wednesday, Aswat Masriya reports. The committee tasked with amending the law submitted it earlier in the day to the cabinet. The law will be sent to the president for approval. On Wednesday, the official spokesperson of the committee tasked with amending a series of laws affecting the composition of the House of Representatives said that members agreed to reduce the number of seats from 600 to 540. Mohamed Fawzy said that 420 seats will be elected through the single-winner seat system and 120 others will be elected through the list-based system. State run EGYNews has published a final draft of the law in Arabic, available here. [EGYNews (Arabic), Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 6/4/2014]

Also of Interest:
Adly Mansour addresses Egyptians as president for last time | Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic)
NASL to declare launch of new ‘revolutionary entity’ within few hours | Egypt Independent
Elections committee tries to explain lack of queues outside polling stations | Egypt Independent


Luxor blasphemy trial postponed to June 24
The trial of Kirollos Shawki, a Christian man from a village near Luxor accused of contempt of religion, has been postponed until June 24. Shawki was arrested by police after local residents complained that that he “liked” a social media page entitled “the knights of Christ,” according to Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Ibrahim reported that the defense lawyer called for the case to be thrown out on the basis of lack of tangible evidence. Ibrahim told Daily News Egypt that in the week leading up to Tuesday’s trial date, tensions were high between Muslims and Christians in the village of Armant. [DNE, 6/3/2014]

Trial challenging protest law postponed to June 17
The Administrative Court postponed on Tuesday a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the highly controversial Protest Law to June 17. Issued in late November 2013 by interim President Adly Mansour, the legislation was drafted to regulate public assembly. The Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law. During the next session, the court is expected to hear the state’s argument. Tarek al-Awady, lawyer and member of the Front to Defend Egypt’s Protesters said he expects the case to be referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court, which would look into the law’s constitutionality. [DNE, 6/3/2014]

Also of Interest:
Thirty-seven students receive suspended jail sentences for violating Protest Law | DNE
Mubarak retrial postponed to Wednesday | DNE, Egypt Independent
Verdict on trial against Morsi’s son for hashish possession set for 2 July | Egypt Independent
Court postpones Nasr City terror cell case to June 17 | EGYNews (Arabic)
Badie and Brotherhood leaders trial on ‘Raba’a control room’ resumes | EGYNews (Arabic)


Saudi king calls for donors conference to aid Egypt
Saudi Arabia has called for a donor conference to assist Egypt as the Gulf’s Arab superpower seeks to muster regional support for its vital regional ally against what it regards as the threat of political Islam. King Abdullah said any country that did not contribute to Egypt’s future would “have no future place among us.” [AFP/Ahram Online, Reuters, Saudi Gazette, FT, 6/3/2014]

Also of Interest:
Egypt: Domestic public debt rises to 83.3 percent of GDP in Q1 of 2014 | DNE
EGPC to invest EGP 3.8 billion in petroleum by public sector companies for FY 2014/2015 | DNE
Egypt: Domestic liquidity increases to EGP 1.44 trillion | DNE
Egypt’s currency black market under threat as confidence rises | Reuters


CPJ calls on Sisi to address press freedom
A Tuesday statement released by press freedom watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged Egypt’s president-elect Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to confront issues facing the media in the country and to release all jailed journalists. The statement, written by CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch, follows a letter addressed to Sisi and presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi sent before the election in which the CPJ asked the candidates to investigate the deaths of all journalists killed in the line of duty since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak, and to free all journalists currently in detainment. [DNE, 6/3/2014]

Also of Interest:
Bassem Youssef denies receiving monetary compensation to end show | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt army foils attack, destroys seven tunnels in Sinai
Egyptian army forces have thwarted an attempt to blow up the civil protection building in Northern Sinai’s Arish, the army spokesman said in a Wednesday statement.  “Military engineers were able to dismantle three barrels that contained high explosives next to the civil protection building on Tuesday night,” the army statement said. The forces have also destroyed seven tunnels in Rafah, according to the army’s spokesman. [Aswat Masriya, 6/4/2014]

Also of Interest:
Security forces allegedly shot and killed biker outside presidential palace | Mada Masr
Egypt police officials say planned surveillance program is constitutional | Ahram Online


Middle East, western governments congratulate Sisi on election win
In an official statement issued on Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague congratulated former military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi for becoming Egypt’s new president. He stated that Britain is looking forward to working with El-Sisi’s government on strengthening the “broad and productive relationship between both our peoples.” United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday he trusts that Sisi will do everything possible to support the Egyptian people’s aspirations for a “stable, democratic and prosperous Egypt.” In a statement issued by the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson, he asserted the UN’s commitment to remain fully engaged in supporting Egypt and urged Egyptian authorities to “strengthen democratic institutions and practices.” Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt, and Arab League Secretary General, Nabil al-Araby, were among those who extended their congratulations to Sisi on Tuesday. [Ahram Online, 6/4/2014]

White House looks forward to working with Sisi, urges reform  
The United States said on Wednesday it looked forward to working with former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as Egypt’s president but expressed concerns about the “restrictive political environment” in which he was elected. A White House statement reiterated US concerns about limits on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression and pressed the government to ensure such rights were given to all Egyptians. The United States was, however, pleased that international observers were allowed to participate, the statement said, adding, “the Presidential Electoral Commission administered the election professionally and in line with Egyptian laws,” and that  “balloting proceeded in a calm and peaceful manner.” [Ahram Online, AP, Reuters, Mada Masr, 6/4/2014]

EU election observation mission defends objectivity
The European Union Election Observation Mission released a statement on Tuesday defending their earlier report on Egypt’s 2014 presidential elections and describing their role as a “fact-based and independent assessment of the entire electoral process.” According to Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Egypt, Mario David, observers do not interfere in any way in the electoral process, including not offering advice or assistance during the process. “The EU EOM does not legitimize the electoral process, nor does it validate the election results. EU election observers are bound by a code of conduct that ensures their neutrality and impartiality,” the statement added. In related news, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said reports of international missions that monitored the elections should focus on “the electoral process itself, not on other political issues, unrelated to the elections.”[Mada Masr, DNE, 6/3/2014]

Also of Interest:
Libyan delegation arrives in Cairo amid tensions back home | DNE