Egypt’s papers led this morning with stories about top defense lawyer Farid al-Deeb's proclamation that Hosni Mubarak is still technically president.
"A sick man rules Egypt," proclaims party paper Al-Wafd's top headline. Deeb had said during the trial Sunday that Mubarak is still president, according to the constitution, and that his decision to step down is obsolete. Judicial sources quoted by Al-Wafd say this is nonsense.
But in court Deeb demanded that the former president be taken to the presidential palace to perform his duties as head of the country, and asked him to be patient like the Prophet was with the people of Mecca.
Deeb said the president's resignation must be written according to Article 83 of the Constitution and then handed to the People's Assembly. He said Mubarak did not write a resignation, nor did he sign the speech read by Omar Suleiman on 11 February last year that announced the president was stepping down. The lawyer also said that Egypt's ruling military council had no authority to abolish the 1971 Constitution.
Mubarak asked the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to manage the affairs of the country, not control it, Deeb said. The lawyer added that SCAF’s interim constitution is not legal. But legal sources tell Al-Wafd that Deeb's allegations are nonsense because the 25 January revolution removed both the president and the constitution.
State-owned Al-Ahram also reports that Deeb said Mubarak is still president, and that judicial sources demand legal actions against the lawyer. The paper quotes civil rights prosecutors as saying that the revolution forced the former president to step down, and that he did not resign.
Egypt's papers also cover the first People's Assembly session, scheduled for Monday. Al-Ahram writes that security was tightened to protect the first parliamentary session. Wafd Party member Mahmoud al-Saqqa, the oldest elected MP, will manage the session with the help of the youngest elected MP. The MPs will read their oaths and then elect the assembly's speaker.
Al-Tahrir writes that MP Essam Sultan declared his candidacy for the position against Saad al-Katatny, the former secretary general of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) who was recently designated as the party's choice for speaker. Sultan's last-minute decision aims to defy the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated party's domination in Parliament, betting on the votes of non-FJP members.
Independent newspaper Al-Shorouk writes that 10,000 Brotherhood members are physically protecting Parliament for its first session. It says the FJP is meeting with five other parties to divide the various parliamentary committees among themselves. The Egyptian Social Democratic Party withdrew from the negotiations in objection to its share, the paper writes. Sources from the Democratic Alliance are quoted as saying that the party pulled out of the discussions after its demand to head the culture and economy committee was refused by the other parties involved.
Al-Wafd also covers the murder of a revolutionary coalition member behind the High Court of Justice building in downtown Cairo. Mohamed Gamal was stabbed in the neck and heart with a knife. After the attack, he continued walking until he reached Tahrir Square, where he collapsed and died. Gamal was there to support his fellow coalition members, who were participating in a sit-in to demand a purge of the judiciary system. The paper says there are currently no suspects in the case, and that Azbakiya's local prosecution said Gamal had been indicted in several lawsuits on charges of drunkenness and theft. Gamal's body was given to his brother, and the prosecution authorized the burial without a forensic report, Al-Wafd says.
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned
Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party
Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party