Laws of the street
Doaa El-Bey highlights the feud between judges and lawyers which threatens Egypt's judicial system
This week was teeming with major developments that could have a big impact on Egypt starting with the ongoing differences among judges and lawyers, police protests, the parliamentary elections, the death of Gaddafi and elections in Tunisia.
The developments occupied the front pages of official, opposition and independent newspapers. Al-Ahram had 'Justice crisis: Judge El-Zend refuses reconciliation and lawyers call for withdrawing judicial authority law'. Al-Gomhuriya quoted Ismail Etman, a member of the ruling military council, as saying 'Parliamentary elections will be civilised and democratic model for the world'. Al-Akhbar bannered 'Wafd Party competes 100 per cent of slate seats and 90 per cent of individual seats', Al-Youm Al-Sabei read 'police riots paralysed the governorates', Al-Wafd stated 'Tunisia sowed first fruit of the Arab Spring' and Al-Masry Al-Youm said 'After Gaddafi's death, Libyan cake ignites conflict with the West and increases protesters' appetite'.
Mohamed El-Barghouti described the differences between judges and lawyers as a setback to justice. He wrote that weeks ago judges were divided into two groups, each preparing its own new law that organises judicial authority. As a result, they were both bogged down in differences and mutual accusations at a time when the whole country is suffering from a strong earthquake and the absence of security.
"Public opinion is aware that the previous regime penetrated all the institutions including the judicial and corrupted its members. But the differences among judges could take the country into a dangerous tunnel," El-Barghouti wrote in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.
As soon as they were ready to agree, lawyers disputed the right of judges to issue the law when there was no People's Assembly. Their difference developed into mutual accusations that could end up by judges deciding not to supervise the elections in protest at the lawyers' decision to close courts and prevent judges from entering their offices.
El-Barghouti ended his column by wondering whether there is a committee of wise men to end the crisis before we wake up to a scary setback to justice.
Makram Mohamed Ahmed said that the door had closed for those running for presidential elections amid confusion on its expected route and whether it would end peacefully amid disorder in the streets.
Everybody seems to agree, Ahmed wrote, that it is difficult to predict the results of the election in light of the differences between the coalitions and divisions within weak political parties.
Amid the confusion, the Justice and Development Party -- the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood -- stood proud of its ability to hold all the threads of the game and its insistence to run for 65 per cent of the individual and slate seats.
Initial estimates showed that the parliamentary seats would be divided among the MB, independents candidates, members of the disbanded National Democratic Party and the liberals and Copts. However, Ahmed added, nobody could confirm such speculation because the Salafis promised a big surprise on election day as they plan to send six million followers to the ballot box. They expected their followers to change the balance.
"It is almost sure that the liberals and revolution's youth would take the least seats in the next parliament because they exerted much effort in the conflict in Tahrir Square," Ahmed wrote in the official daily Al-Ahram.
Ahmed concluded by calling on everybody to abide by the democratic game and respect its rules regardless of the results of the elections.
Eissa Morshed warned that the parliamentary elections could lead to a marathon of disorder. He wrote that the political arena witnessed the emergence of a number of political parties which is a good sign of democratic transformation in spite of the fear of some commentators that these parties have no weight on the street.
"Explaining to people how to choose the right candidate in this short period of time is important. However, nobody is willing to do it. Thus the selection could be governed by randomness and paying compliments to the members of the previous regime," Morshed wrote in the official daily Al-Akhbar.
He expected the street to be the venue of a race among all parties and independent candidates to gain the confidence of voters. It is high time for the return of security and discipline in the Egyptian streets. Hence, he called on the police to return to the streets, treat people kindly and return to their jobs which is protecting people. The absence of security, Morshed added, contributes to the spread of disorder, hooliganism and muggings.
Morshed also called on political parties and coalitions to put saving Egypt before all else and choose their candidates according to clear bases and programmes.
The parliamentary elections, he added, is a chance for the parties to strengthen their presence on the street and prove their ability to compete and form realistic programmes that are linked to solving people's problems.
The major transformation that Egypt is currently witnessing would lead to a genuine democratic progress at the end, Morshed summed up.
The way the deposed Libyan leader was killed was denounced by many people, even those who were against his policies. Mohamed Fouda acknowledged that he never sympathised with Gaddafi because he was strange and tried to impose himself on the political arena through instigating differences with others. In spite of that and of the crimes that he committed against his people, Fouda was deeply affected by the way he was assassinated and the way his body was mutilated.
"I considered it a setback to the Libyan revolution because it applied the law of the jungle in which logic and wisdom lessened,' he wrote in Al-Youm Al-Sabei.
Fouda wished that the protesters had handed Gaddafi to Libyan justice under which he would have been questioned and if found guilty punished for all the crimes he had committed including uprooting democracy and curbing freedom of opinion, dialogue and the press.
What happened to Gaddafi made Fouda think about the fate of the Arab rulers who stay in power for decades. They usually face a tragic end either by being killed or tried for treason.