Egypt's army vows to hand power to elected president


The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo explains the implications of the military's move

Egypt's ruling military council has vowed to hand over power to an elected president by the end of June.

The promise comes as votes are counted after Sunday's presidential run-off election, with both candidates claiming they are ahead in early results.

However, the council had earlier issued a declaration granting itself sweeping powers over legislation and the introduction of a new constitution.

Opposition groups condemned the declaration as a "coup".

Interim Constitutional Declaration

  • Issued by ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf)
  • Amends Constitutional Declaration of March 2011
  • Grants Scaf powers to initiate legislation, control budget, appoint panel to draft new constitution
  • Postpones new parliamentary elections until new constitution is approved

Lt Muhammad al-Assar from the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf) told a news conference that a ceremony would be held in late June to hand over power to the new president, state media report.

However, the constitutional declaration issued by the Scaf late on Sunday effectively gives it legislative powers, control over the budget and over who writes the permanent constitution following mass street protests that toppled Mr Mubarak in February 2011.

It also strips the president of any authority over the army.


In Tahrir Square, a veiled woman ululated and young men danced while holding up a large plastic banner of the retiring, bearded engineer Mohammed Mursi, whom they were confident would be Egypt's new president.

The candidate's Muslim Brotherhood has claimed that he won 52% of the vote compared with 48% for his rival, former PM Ahmed Shafiq.

The Shafiq campaign criticised the Islamist group for its victory announcement, saying it represented "bizarre behaviour" ahead of any official confirmation of the final result.

Some participants in the Tahrir Square rally felt their celebrations were overshadowed by the interim constitutional declaration made by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

It defined the prerogatives of both the next president and the ruling military after Egypt's supreme court dissolved the elected parliament - dominated by Islamists - last week.

Analysts speculate that if official results confirm Mr Mursi has won the presidential election, a power struggle between the Brotherhood and the military - two of Egypt's strongest forces - looks likely, possibly bringing more of the turmoil that has characterised the process of democratic transition.

The Scaf have even guaranteed themselves jobs for life, the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo reports.

'Grave setback'

There have been no big protests so far - the military must be hoping that Egyptians are simply too tired of politics to protest, and are willing to go for stability whatever the cost, our correspondent says.

But the army's declaration was widely condemned in opposition circles.

Prominent political figure Mohamed ElBaradei has described the document as a "grave setback for democracy and revolution".

Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the first round of voting and was the favoured candidate of many in the protest movement, said the declaration was a "seizure of the future of Egypt".

"We will not accept domination by any party," Mr Sabahi said.

Parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni, of the Muslim Brotherhood, said the declaration was "null and void".

The Brotherhood had earlier urged Egyptians to "protect their revolution" after the Scaf dissolved parliament - dominated by the Brotherhood - on Saturday.

Two days earlier, the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that last year's legislative polls were unconstitutional because party members were allowed to contest seats in the lower house reserved for independents.

Election candidates

Ahmed Shafiq and Mohammed Mursi

Ahmed Shafiq (l)

  • Aged 70
  • Veteran fighter pilot and former air force commander
  • Appointed Egypt's first aviation minister, earning reputation for competence and efficiency
  • Promoted to PM during February 2011 protests
  • Associated with former regime, though denies being backed by ruling military council
  • Campaigned on a promise to restore security

Mohammed Mursi

  • Aged 60
  • US-educated engineering professor
  • Head of Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)
  • Served as independent MP 2000-05
  • Quietly spoken, viewed by some as lacking charisma
  • Has promised "stability, security, justice and prosperity" under an Islamic banner

On Monday morning, soldiers prevented MPs from entering parliament.

'No revenge'

The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi ran in Sunday's poll against Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under former President Hosni Mubarak.

The Brotherhood said Mr Mursi was holding a 52%-48% lead over Mr Shafiq with almost all the vote counted after Sunday's second-round run-off election.

Speaking at his party headquarters, Mr Mursi pledged to be a president for all Egyptians, adding that he would not "seek revenge or settle scores".

Hundreds of Mr Mursi's supporters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square to celebrate his declaration of victory.

But Mr Shafiq's campaign said it rejected "completely" Mr Mursi's victory claim, and that figures it had obtained showed Mr Shafiq in the lead.

Official results from the Higher Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) will be announced on Thursday, state TV reported.

Correspondents say that there was less enthusiasm in the run-off election than there was for previous rounds of voting, and some called for a boycott or spoiled ballots.

Mr Shafiq came second to Mr Mursi in last month's first round, in which turnout among the 52 million eligible voters was only 46%.


More on This Story

Egypt transition


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  • rate this

    Comment number 66.


    they have been indoctrinated since birth and not given the freedom to have other faiths or beliefs

    its time for islam to wake up its not the year 1500 anymore

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Passions are running a little high on this comments page to-day. Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures; cost nothing and conveys much.
    There is far too much speculation about this, why not wait and see what happens, then make an informed comments.
    It took most of Europe hundreds of years to form our democracy, why not give Egypt a few weeks to let the dust settle?

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    "But Islam, i'm afraid to tell you, is a backward, warlike religion that requires the blind faith and subservience of it's followers and can be easily twisted to violence."

    A comment which applies equally well to Christianity. Who are we to tell other countries/religions how they should live their lives?

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    #51.Richard Morris
    Islam freed the slaves and united Arabs. It guided people to believe in one God, the Creator, instead of their mindless worshipping of "people, statues, prophets, stars etc..".
    The rich and the poor pray and fast alike. The laws 'are supposed to' be applied to all alike, the rich &the poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    @58. Zelod - did the 'moderate' Catholics protest about the IRA in the 80's?

    It's not up to moderates to control extremists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    John (57),

    “... The simple fact is Islam is incompatible with Liberal, secular thinking ...”

    That is another way of saying that Liberal, secular thinking is incompatible with Islam. That is a debatable point, but a reasonable one. Taking a Liberal, secular thinking POV, if the Islamic POV garners more votes in Egypt, it seems reasonable to me that Islam should rule there.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    Amr 54

    The objection is that there are a majority in Egypt who do not want their lives ruled by religious laws, or any religion at all.

    Those Islamic laws when practiced on a population are so fundamentaly contradictory to human rights that no sensible person in their right mind, particularly women, would want their government & country run by Islamic Law or any other ridiculous doctrine

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.


    the reason why most westerners have that view is the fact that the so called moderate muslims dont do one thing about the islamists. where are the protests by the moderates protesting the extreamists?
    time for you to wake up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    54. Amr If you want to believe in the Koran and its laws and vote in the MB that's your call. The simple fact is Islam is incompatible with Liberal, secular thinking. Its time our leaders in the west woke up and stopped trying to interfere in Muslim countries and tell those Muslims who settle in the West that they follow our way of life or go to a country that they would feel more comfortable in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    The Muslim Brotherhood has been around for decades in Egypt - every time it has used violence and uprising to try to usurp power... now it has finally succeeded thanks mainly to the western media and governments supporting the uprising. Now the Brotherhood looks to expand over the whole middle east and create a caliphate with safa practices. Those of different persuasions get out now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Its good to see that most British people don't have simplified /childish views of Islam.

    The why some of these comments read some people actually think there is one type of islam and EXTREMISTS are a majority.

    Grow up people and actually do some research for yourselves without the corporate media spoon feeding u one fear story after another.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    #7.Michael Winston
    "Remember last July when thousands of Brotherhood members demonstrated"
    That wasn't just the Brotherhood. I don't understand why you find it strange that a country with a majority of Muslims would want the code, or laws, that govern their lives to be based on Holy Quraan &Sunnah. Perhaps you don't know why 2 billion people believe in Islam.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Oh this is good. Not only did the Egyptians vote for two candidates they didn't want, the Military have now made sure that whoever gets in will be sitting in a empty office with no parliament to preside over, and no powers to legislate anything. If that is't a coup what is ?

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Muslims believe Islam protects freedom, justice &equality. Islam gives equal rights to the rich &the poor. Human-made laws brought nothing but injustice, corruption &imbalance to the world
    Can you show me any Islamic country with those characteristics? Equal right to rich and poor (as long as they are men)?.

  • Comment number 50.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Muslim Brotherhood announce they won shortly after boxes were open, reminds me of Ahmadinejad of Iran when he done the same thing in 2009 that created the Green Revolution. Yes, there's a shades of Mullah about the Brotherhood & with their leader being so softly spoken & all embracing I wouldn't be surprised if there was a sting in the tail, a Sharia sting, Shafiq will be the military's winner!

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    This is a tough one to call. On the one hand you have a military fighting against the people, denying democracy but ensuring equality for all, and on the other hand you have The Muslim Brotherhood winning the polls, ensuring Sharia will prevail through the country and have stated "in their own words" to destroy the western world from within. Which evil do you right for?

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Egypt will change drastically with the Muslim Brotherhood in control - with their quest for Safa practices and their call for a Khalifa across the middle east. One thing is for sure - you should never see the word democracy and Islam in the same sentence... it doesn't work like that. Israel should be worried - especially if Syria also falls into the hands of the Brotherhood 'Activists'


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