Egypt's Ruling Military Council Rebuffed by Political Forces

Egypt's political candidates begin to jockey for position, pushing the military council aside, as parliamentary elections approach.

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Chana Ya'ar,

Mohammed Hussein Tantawi
Mohammed Hussein Tantawi
Israel news photo: Government of Egypt official photo

Egypt's ruling military council is not quite politely being told to “butt out” of the leadership as the first phase of parliamentary elections are set to begin on November 28. The three-phase national electoral process won't be completed until some time next year.

The Democratic Coalition, together with other political forces and presidential candidates, this week rejected a document of Constitutional Principles prepared by Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy.

In a meeting Sunday at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, the group gave the military council and the government a 72-hour deadline to withdraw the document.

The group said it would postpone a decision whether to hold a demonstration slated for November 18 until this deadline expired.

Participants at the meeting said in a statement reported by the Arabic edition of the Egyptian daily newspaper Al Masry al Youm that the military council and the Supreme Administrative Court decision to allow the military the right to object to the Constitutional Committee “contradicted the national consensus and the will of the people.”

The decision also contradicts the document itself, claimed the candidates, who said the Constitutional Principles document states that the people themselves are the source of its power.

“Armed forces play a special role with regard to national security,” the statement continued, “a role that should be defined in the new Constitution and the military budget, without the need for a constitutional declaration.”

Islamist forces have declared they will participate in the November 18 demonstration, which they have referred to as the “second revolution,” Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

“We call on the people to take part in the demonstration if the document is not withdrawn,” declared Muslim Brotherhood deputy general guide Khairat al-Shater.