Top News: Supreme Court to Assess Disenfranchisement and Electoral Laws on June 14

Egypt Supreme Court

Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court will begin hearing the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission’s appeal regarding the Political Disenfranchisement Law on 14 June. If implemented, the law could result in the disqualification of Ahmed Shafik. The court will also hear an appeal by the Supreme Administrative Court challenging the constitutionality of the parliamentary elections law, which could result in the dissolution of Parliament.


Boycott camp hopes to lower turnout, strip vote’s legitimacy

[Egypt Independent, English, 6/6/2012]

After the two most polarizing candidates won the first round of presidential elections, a growing number of disillusioned and frustrated voters are opting to boycott the second round, scheduled to take place on 16 and 17 June. While there were calls to boycott the first vote on 23 and 24 May, a movement that calls itself the "Boycotters Campaign," is now making a larger, more organized effort both online and in the streets. Turnout for the first round was around 45 percent nationwide, and could be even lower for the runoff if the group is successful. The vast majority of participants called for boycott-awareness campaigns to be held near polling stations on election mornings, followed by street protests in the afternoon. The boycott campaign has divided itself into three working groups: popular outreach, media and graffiti.


SCAF gives parties 48 hours to resolve constituent assembly crisis

[Ahram Online, English; Egypt Independent, English, 6/5/2012]

After a meeting with Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Tuesday, political party representatives said that the council had given them a two-day period in which to issue a parliamentary decision on the membership criteria for Egypt’s constituent assembly – tasked with drafting a new constitution – or else the SCAF would either issue a ‘constitutional annex’ or revive the 1971 constitution. Independent MP Mostafa Bakri said in the statement that party representatives who had attended the meeting would negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and other parties the issue of proposed legislation laying down membership criteria of the constituent assembly instead of amending the Constitutional Declaration. The proposed amendment stipulates that the assembly include heads of parties represented in parliament; heads of judiciary bodies; elected heads of professional syndicates; and civil society representatives, in order to ensure the assembly is not dominated by a single political current. Twenty public figures representing women, young people and Copts would also be included, although exactly who would select them remains unclear. People’s Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny on Tuesday warned the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces against issuing a supplement. said such an action would represent an assault on the constitutionally granted powers of the People’s Assembly.

FJP lawmaker prepares bill to quadruple military salaries

[Egypt Independent, English, 6/6/2012]

A Freedom and Justice Party lawmaker has proposed a bill that would increase military officers’ salaries by 400 percent. MP Farid Ismail, deputy chairman of the lower house’s Defense and National Security Committee, said military salaries are too low and need to be increased, as was done for the police. Ismail said during a committee meeting Tuesday that comparing police and armed forces salaries reveals an obvious parity and that the bill he submitted to the Proposals and Complaints Committee is similar to the one recently approved for police pay. Major General Hassan Bassiouny, an official from the Defense Ministry’s Public Services Sector, welcomed the proposal, describing it as a step toward social justice.


BREAKING: Court to assess Disenfranchisement Law on 14 June

[Al Masry Al Youm, Arabic; Ahram Online, English, 6/6/2012]

The High Constitutional Court will begin hearing the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission’s appeal regarding the Political Disenfranchisement Law on 14 June, according to Maher Samy, the court’s vice president. Mass protests broke out across Egypt on Saturday calling for the implementation of the law on Mubarak’s ex-prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq. The court will also hear an appeal by the Supreme Administrative Court into the constitutionality of the parliamentary elections law.

Giza court acquits 13 policemen on charges of killing protesters

[Egypt Independent, English, 6/6/2012]

Giza Criminal Court on Wednesday cleared 13 policemen on charges of killing protesters in the neighborhoods of Kerdasa and Imbaba during the 25 January uprising last year. The policemen were charged with killing six demonstrators and attempting to kill 18 others on 28 and 29 January 2011. The first session of the trial was held on 4 May last year after investigations conducted by the prosecution indicated the police had been involved in killing the protesters at police stations in the two districts. The defense also argued that the evidence was contradictory, that witnesses’ testimonies are not considered criminal evidence and that the prosecution didn’t have evidence other than the testimonies of the witnesses, including the father of victim Ihab Nassar.

Mubarak likely to be moved to hospital: agency

[Masry Al Youm, Arabic; Reuters, English, 6/6/2012]

Hosni Mubarak’s health has deteriorated since the Egyptian ex-president was sent to prison on Saturday and it is likely he will moved to a hospital outside the jail where he is being held. Mubarak was given artificial respiration five times in recent hours and doctors treating him recommended he be moved to a military hospital or back to the medical facility he was in prior to his conviction, security officials said. A medical committee from the Interior Ministry visited Mubarak and concluded that he had suffered several "heart crises" and that his medical committee was deteriorating. The report from the committee said that if the prison is not prepared to deal with Mubarak, then he should be transferred.


State to speed up collection of billions in back taxes

[Egypt Independent, English, 6/6/2012]

Finance Minister Momtaz al-Saeed announced Tuesday that he has ordered the Egyptian Tax Authority to implement legal changes to help the state bring in billions of pounds in unpaid taxes. He said the changes would speed up collection and facilitate taxation of small businesses. The state is owed LE150 billion in uncollected taxes, Saeed told a meeting of the People’s Assembly’s Budget and Planning Committee held to discuss tax revenue and the fiscal year 2012/13 state budget. His directives include activating provincial tax appeal committees and facilitating payment measures for citizens.

Egypt foreign reserves up $302 million in May, helped by foreign aid

[Ahram Online, English, 6/6/2012]

Egypt’s foreign reserves climbed $302 million in May to reach $15.52 billion, their second consecutive monthly increase, boosted by Saudi aid and foreign investment inflows. Economists, however, warn the rise is unsustainable due to unpredictable current account flows. Foreign reserves rose from $15.21 billion at the end of April, according to figures from Egypt’s central bank on Wednesday. Currency reserves fell every month for a year following the country’s 2011 uprising before a partial reversal last month. Monette Doss, research manager at Prime Holdings, says May’s figure reflects the influence of regional aid. The recent political turmoil has scared away tourists and investors, two of Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency.


Hamas leader visits Brotherhood supreme guide

[Masry Al Youm, Arabic; Egypt Independent, English, 6/6/2012]

A senior Hamas official made a 20-minute visit Wednesday morning to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Moqattam headquarters in Cairo. The visit by Moussa Abu Marzouk, vice chairman of the Palestinian faction’s politburo, coincided with the Brotherhood’s weekly meeting and election planning to support presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy. An informed source at the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Marzouk came to check on the health of Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, who underwent an operation following the first round of elections last month. The same source said they did not discuss Brotherhood-Hamas relations. In May, a senior official at Palestinian faction Fatah, Azzam al-Ahmed, said a Morsy victory would make Hamas a more stringent negotiator and affect reconciliation efforts between the rival factions.

Photo Credit: Bikya Masr


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