Egypt's Interim President Promises Elections Within 7 Months
Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, said on Sunday that the government is committed to holding parliamentary and presidential elections within six months of approval of the new constitution, to be voted on next month, reports Reuters.
The timetable means that Egypt would have an elected government by next summer to replace the interim government installed by the army after it ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July.
Mansour said that it would not be unconstitutional for presidential elections to be held before parliamentary elections.
The initial plan unveiled in July required parliamentary elections to be held first, but the constitution to be voted on in a referendum on January 14 and 15 would allow presidential elections first.
The new draft constitution approved several weeks ago, preserves the military’s wide-ranging powers, including the ability to try civilians in certain cases. This has angered secular groups that backed the military in ousting Morsi.
Other articles include one stipulating that Islamic sharia law will be the main source of legislation, as was also the case during the regime of toppled ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Another main article of the new charter forbids the formation of religious parties or parties based on religious grounds.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood was quick to reject the new constitution due to the fact that it preserves the military’s wide-ranging powers, including the ability to try civilians in certain cases.
Later, the Anti-Coup Alliance led by the Muslim Brotherhood announced it will boycott the referendum and organize a campaign against the vote.
There has been endless violence as well as terror attacks in Egypt since July when Morsi was ousted.
The tension between Morsi supporters and opponents reached a new turning point last week, when the military-installed government designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
This was followed by a crackdown on the Islamist movement, as Egyptian authorities arrested dozens of its members.
The terror designation came a day after a massive suicide car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.
The Mansoura attack was claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a Sinai-based Al Qaeda-inspired group which has claimed various attacks in and outside the Sinai peninsula, but Egypt’s government has said that there is a link between the Muslim Brotherhood and the ongoing terrorism in the country.
A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has blasted the decision to declare the organization a “terrorist group” and said the Islamists in Egypt would continue with their near-daily demonstrations despite the blacklist.