Thursday’s papers: Election results and restrictions on Ganzouri

Thursday's papers focus their news coverage on two chief political developments announced Wednesday ― results from the parliamentary elections, and designated Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri's new cabinet. Islamists' strong representation in the new parliament, along with Ganzouri's new quasi-presidential powers and choices of ministers, are the two main points of focus.

The chief headline in state-run Al-Ahram reads, “Ten political parties represented in parliament in first stage of elections.” Voters in nine governorates went to the polling stations with a reported turnout rate of around 60 percent, says the report. In this stage, 168 out of 498 total People's Assembly seats were contested.

Islamist candidates from both the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi-led Nour Party won some 60 percent of parliamentary seats in the first stage. A sub-headline in Al-Ahram announces: “Eighty seats for the Brotherhood, 33 seats for Salafis, three seats for revolutionary youths, three seats for members of the dissolved National Democratic Party.”

In the independent Al-Shorouk newspaper, the main front-page headline reads, “Islamists reap two-thirds of parliamentary seats in the first stage [of elections].” Al-Shorouk also runs a pie chart on its front page. For the 168 contested seats in this stage, 150 winners have been announced, with 18 seats to be re-contested in Cairo's first constituency due to electoral violations.

The pie chart displays the top two winners ― the Freedom and Justice Party with 46 percent, and the Nour Party with 20.67 percent. In a distant third is the liberal Egyptian Bloc list, with 9.34 percent, followed by the liberal Wafd Party with 7.34 percent and independent candidates with 6 percent. Both the moderate Islamist Wasat Party and left-leaning Revolution Continues Coalition tallied 2.67 percent. Three newcomers, the Reform and Development, Freedom, and Egyptian Citizen parties, each polled at 1.34 percent. Two other new parties, the centrist Adl Party and the Egypt National Party, took 0.67 percent.

Independent Al-Tahrir cites different percentages: “First stage: Freedom and Justice: 47 percent, Nour: 19 percent, Egyptian Bloc: 12 percent.”

Al-Wafd also cites slightly different percentages. Serving as the mouthpiece for the liberal opposition party of the same name, this newspaper promotes its own electoral campaigns, exemplified in its top headline: “Al-Wafd grants 1 million feddans to farmers and families of the [revolution] martyrs free of charge.”

A headline in the independent Al-Dostour reads, “The Brotherhood sweeps elections and declares [electoral] war on the Salafis.” This headline is accompanied by, “Parties raise the slogan 'O Liberals Unite' to confront Islamists in the second stage [of elections].”

Al-Tahrir asks the question: “Why did the Brotherhood trump the Salafis?” The answer according to Amin Iskander, secretary general of the Nasserist Karama Party, is that “the Salafis' extremism served to fuel support for the Brotherhood vote.”

Regarding Ganzouri's new cabinet of 29 ministers, Al-Tahrir runs a the headline: “Ganzouri: Me and my authority.” The article explains that the ruling military junta has granted the 78-year-old prime minister “presidential powers which are meaningless” due to the restrictions imposed on the position.

Other newspapers address the restrictions on Ganzouri. Al-Dostour's headline reads, “Presidential powers imparted upon Ganzouri, except in military and judiciary affairs.” In Al-Shorouk: “Ganzouri's cabinet sworn-in … Field Marshall [Hussein Tantawi] awards him with 'half' presidential powers.”

State-run Al-Ahram does not address the issue of Ganzouri's actual authority.

Al-Tahrir runs a comic featuring a TV presenter holding a microphone and prompting a Ganzouri look-alike by saying, “Some people claim that you're too old to assume such a position,” to which the Ganzouri look-alike responds, “Not at all. I don't have to worry about getting high blood pressure or diabetes because I already have these issues.” The elderly statesman adds, “And that's not to mention the Alzheimer's disease that will cause me to forget to hand over power [to a legitimate government].”

Al-Tahrir also covers the continuing Occupy the Cabinet sit-in downtown in protest of Ganzouri's appointment. As the sit-in outside the cabinet headquarters enters its third week, Al-Tahrir quotes protesters as saying, “Ganzouri will only enter this building over our dead bodies.”

Egypt's papers:

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

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