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Monday, 12 March 2018

Politics dominates airwaves with talk of post election cabinet shuffle, media rights

Politics dominated the airwaves last night, with concerns over a potential cabinet shuffle post election, the state of media legislation, and burgeoning Sudan-Egypt ties. Al Hayah Al Youm gave us the only econ respite with an exclusive with Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil.

Some 25 Chinese companies are planning to set up textiles projects worth USD 2 bn in Sadat City, Kabil told host Khaled Abu Bakr (watch, runtime: 3:23). In an hour-long interview, Kabil spoke about the economic reform measures, saying they require time to bear fruit, and discussed industrial developments over the past four years. He also said that 4,400 factories are expected to obtain licences over the coming year (watch, runtime: 3:03). He added that a total of 501 new factories will launch next month. You can watch full interview here (watch, runtime: 1:00:00)

Despite rampant speculation, we might not see a new cabinet after the presidential election? That was the contention on the airwaves last night. The constitution does not mandate a cabinet shuffle with the beginning of a new presidential term, constitutional law professor Salah Fawzy told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. He added that the president would need over 50% of House of Representatives MPs to vote in favor of any such shuffle (watch, runtime: 5:35). House spokesperson Salah Hassaballah concurred, adding that the majority of MPs trust and support President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s choices (watch, runtime: 4:35). He also said the president would take the oath of office before parliament in June.

Is Support Egypt looking to become a formal party? The Support Egypt Coalition — the largest political bloc in the House — may turn into a single unified political party, said Hassaballah. The matter has yet to be decided, he added. He then moved on to say that parliament is considering going back to the old tradition of airing its sessions on TV, but we’ll believe it when we see it (watch, runtime: 4:54).

As the House looks to debate the Media Act (more in the Speed Round), the politics-heavy episode turned into a discussion on on the laws regulating press freedom in Egypt. Press Syndicate Head Abdel Mohsen Salama and Media Syndicate head Hamdy El Konaysi said that there are up to 35 articles in different pieces of legislation that allow the jailing of journalists over content (watch, runtime: 41:31). Salama called the provisions outdated said they contradict the 2014 constitution, which guarantees freedom of the press under Article 71.

Relations with Sudan remained high on host Amr Adib’s mind again, as he urged Egyptians to not rely on improved Nile politics and start conserving water (watch, runtime: 8:30). On Masaa DMC, Eman Al Hossary spoke to former Foreign Minister Mohamed El Oraby who expressed “relief” that ties have recently warmed (watch, runtime: 6:45). Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr that Egypt and Sudan enjoy strong ties and spoke about similar strong relations with other African countries including South Sudan and Kenya as part of Egypt’s growing interest in Africa (watch, runtime: 15:55).

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