Army chief to meet party leaders after Tahrir protests
The leaders of Egypt's main political parties were due to meet with the head of the military on Saturday, a day after huge crowds rallied on Cairo's Tahrir Square to call for a faster transfer to civilian rule.
AFP - Egypt's military chief of staff Sami Enan was due to meet party leaders on Saturday, a day after protesters converged on Cairo's central Tahrir Square to demand reforms.
Enan, who is also the number two in the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), invited a range of parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal Wafd, the state-owned Al-Ahram newpaper reported.
Saturday's meeting comes a day after thousands flocked to Tahrir to demand an end to military trials of civilians, cleansing institutions of former regime remnants, amendment to a recently published electoral law and social justice.
SCAF has been in power since president Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising in February and has repeatedly stressed its commitment to democracy.
But protesters have been gathering in Tahrir on an almost weekly basis to express anger and frustration at the military's handling of the transition.
Several arrests were made on Friday after some of the protesters attempted to head to the defence ministry and were blocked by military police.
Others declared they would remain in the square until their demands were met.
On Tuesday, SCAF laid out the timetable for the first post-Mubarak elections, which will start on November 28 and take place over four months.
A presidential election is expected to be held next year.
The Democratic Coalition, which groups dozens of parties including the Muslim Brotherhood and Wafd, has threatened to boycott the vote.
They fear the electoral law will help old regime figures to return to parliament.
Under Mubarak, candidates affiliated with his party used patronage or pressure to garner votes.
Activists say that a proportional list system would help avoid that, because voters would be electing candidates based on a party's political platform, circumventing candidates' personal power and influence.