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Nile Tensions Rise Between Junta, Islamists

The head of Egypt's interim junta responded sharply to criticism of the military from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 3/26/2012, 9:22 PM

Hussein Tantawi
Hussein Tantawi
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Egypt’s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi on Sunday expressed “extreme indignation” over the Muslim Brotherhood’s criticism of the military's continued support of the interim cabinet.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which has the biggest bloc in the parliament, had described Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri’s cabinet as a failure and criticized the army for continuing to support it.

“Is it a desire to abort the revolution and destroy the people’s belief in their ability to achieve their goals? Or is there an intention to defraud or influence the forthcoming presidential election?” the Brotherhood statement said.

The Freedom and Justice Party had threatened on several occasions to hold a no-confidence vote on the cabinet, but the military council has said the parliament does not have the right to hold such a vote on the cabinet.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces – Egypts interim ruling junta since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak – has stood by the cabinet and its head Kamal Ganzouri.

“When we called for the resignation of the government, its head refused, and this was unfortunately supported by the military council,” the Brotherhood said in its statement.

“If anyone intends to recreate the former corrupt regime with new faces, the people are willing to move in order to revive their revolution and protect their ship from sinking at the hands of people with no sense of responsibility,” it said.

Referring the Brotherhood’s statement, Tantawi said, “We were careful not to be provoked, but what happened recently is enough."

Tantawi called “on all to be aware of history’s lessons, to avoid past mistakes we do not want to see repeated, and to look to the future with the spirit of cooperation.”

Last month, a lawsuit was brought before the Supreme Constitutional Court arguing that the parliamentary election was unconstitutional due to its complex voting system.

Islamist parties say they fear the military council could push through this lawsuit should they insist on Ganzouri’s removal.

Tantawi dismissed the claim as baseless saying he believed the Brotherhood and its allies were attempting to influence upcoming presidential elections.