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Africa

Egypt’s liberals, Islamists reject timetable for elections

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-07-10

Egypt's main opposition rejected a proposed timetable for revising the constitution and holding elections, saying it would draft its own amendments, while the Muslim Brotherhood told FRANCE 24 that it refuses to join the new government.

Egypt's main opposition coalition as well as the nation’s Islamists have rejected interim president Adly Mansour's proposed timetable for revising the suspended constitution and holding both parliamentary and presidential elections, renewing doubts on the chances for a smooth political transition.

The National Salvation Front (NSF), the secular opposition coalition that led calls for Islamist president Mohammed Morsi's resignation before he was ousted by the military last week, denounced Mansour's decree and said it would be proposing its own amendments to the plan.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood called the temporary charter a move enforced by "putchists".

Spokesman Mohamed Soudane of the Muslim Brotherhood's political branch, the Liberty and Jutice Party, told FRANCE 24 on Wednesday that the movement refuses to join a new Egyptian government.

“We have opposed from the beginning what is happening in Egypt, how could we participate in the transitional government? It would be participating in a crime,” Soudane said, adding: “The situation in Egypt is now worse than that which prevailed before the revolution of 25 January 2011,” a reference to the revolt that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

Newly appointed prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi was expected to begin talks Wednesday on forming a cabinet.

Beblawi was planning to extend an olive branch to the Muslim Brotherhood by offering them cabinet posts, the official MENA news agency quoted a presidential aide as saying.

In the restive Sinai peninsula, two people were killed early Wednesday when militants struck several police and army positions with mortar rounds and rocket propelled grenades.

The fresh violence came less than a day after Mansour laid out a timetable for elections by early next year and appointed a new prime minister and vice president.

Egypt's new vice president, Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, was one of Morsi's most ardent opponents and led the NSF before Morsi's ouster.

The military's rout of Morsi, after massive protests calling for his resignation, has pushed the divided country into a vortex of violence that has already claimed dozens of lives.

In the worst violence since Morsi's overthrow, at least 51 people, most of them supporters of the ousted Islamist, died in clashes outside military barracks in Cairo on Monday.

An official with one of the parties in the NSF told AFP that Mansour's 33-article declaration foresees new "legislative, executive and judicial powers" for the interim president.

"You would look like a hypocrite now. It makes it look as if you are not against dictatorship, just against a dictatorship that is not from your group," he said.

The official requested anonymity as his party prepared its own statement, amid apparent fissures in the loose coalition.

The Muslim Brotherhood has called for an "uprising" to restore Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, as the legitimate president.

On the opposing end, Tamarod, the movement that spearheaded the grassroots campaign against Morsi, complained that it had not been consulted on the transition plan announced by Mansour and would also make proposals for changes to the blueprint.

But the army warned it would brook no disruption to what it acknowledged would be a "difficult" transition.

The blueprint unveiled by caretaker president Mansour is intended to replace the controversial Islamist-drafted constitution, suspended after Morsi was deposed.

A committee will be set up to make final improvements to the draft before it is put to a referendum.

Parliamentary elections will then follow within three months and Mansour will announce a date for a presidential election once the new parliament has convened.

The United States, which provides $1.5 billion in mainly military aid to Egypt, said it was "cautiously encouraged" by the timetable proposed for a new presidential election.

The Egyptian military has come under huge international pressure to swiftly install an interim civilian administration, pressure that has only intensified since Monday's carnage.

A military statement read out on state television on Tuesday said neither the armed forces nor the people of Egypt would accept "the stalling or disruption" of this "difficult and complex" period.

The Muslim Brotherhood held fresh protests on Tuesday against both Morsi's ouster and Monday's fatal shootings outside the Cairo headquarter of the elite Republican Guard.

Mansour has ordered an independent inquiry into the bloodshed, which sparked expressions of concern and condemnation from around the world.

The United States has called on the Egyptian army to exercise "maximum restraint", while also denouncing "explicit" Brotherhood calls to violence.

Morsi's single year of turbulent rule was marked by accusations he failed the 2011 revolution that ousted autocratic president Hosni Mubarak by concentrating power in Islamist hands and letting the economy nosedive.

In a boost for the economy, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced on Tuesday that they would give Egypt $8 billion in assistance.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-07-10

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