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 106.

    Barney: we must respect that choice

    If Egypt Islamics want others to respect them
    they must respect non-Islamics as well

    When Egypt Islamics say that Christians+non-religious are equal to them,
    when Egypt Islamics denounce violence against women+allow women to protest+wear what they want freely, when they say they are against child marriage
    that is when I will respect them

  • Comment number 105.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    92 Chryses

    Quite right. I do imply that all religions as a collective are unreasonable & unfair, be it US Republican Christian or Islamic Fundamantalist. The whole lot of it is a blight & nonsense. The sooner the world gets rid of such stuff & start behaving like mature adults the better

    You can burn the Bible as well as the Koran if you like

    You are welcome to your bigotry

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    I don't need to go there. The West comes with many presents in their hands, bombing our cities, taking our resources and killing our people. I don't really believe media.
    I once thought that the West might provide better education & health-care etc..., but I found out that the West's progress was built on the misery of others, sometimes even of a part of its own population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    @98 Farah

    Whether it's culture or Islam, it's simply wrong and not acceptable in any society.

    Do you not agree?

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.


    while your quote may make you feel better about islam i have never heard such crap, no compulsion? so anyone born a muslim in any country anywhere in the world has a choice? LOL

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Rebecca Riot (94),

    "83 Chryses

    Islamic Law is a ridiculous and cruel doctrine, full stop ... under Taliban ..."

    The Taliban are a political organization. Criticize their policies.

    "... I shall chase you down the street with a stick."

    Now THAT's very reasonable!

    You are entitled to your prejudices.
    Enjoy them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Power to all my friends....

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    Rebecca Riot
    6 Minutes ago

    83 Chryses

    Islamic Law is a ridiculous and cruel doctrine, full stop.

    Look at the blight of Islamic Law on the lives of women and girls under Taliban. Denied education, bought and sold, killing and burying women alive. Barbaric stuff that deserves the due punishment

    Lady That is CULTURE not Islam!

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    WhyMe44 & 38 says:
    "Maybe the AEI, via the White House, via the CIA and other Israeli covert operators shot themselves in the foot then?"

    mmmm ... like the 17 "charities", mainly funded by the US and various EU governments, that covertly helped to overthrow Mubarak.?

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. I declare a holy war.

    In the right corner we have power-mongers calling themselves "Christians".

    And in the right corner we have power-mongers calling themselves "Muslims".

    No-one in the right corner will be fighting today, but they'll each be sending a lot of people cheerleading both sides into the ring.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    83 Chryses

    Islamic Law is a ridiculous and cruel doctrine, full stop.

    Look at the blight of Islamic Law on the lives of women and girls under Taliban. Denied education, bought and sold, killing and burying women alive. Barbaric stuff that deserves the due punishment

    If you turn up at my door with your Islamic Law I shall chase you down the street with a stick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    Amr: Boku Haram is the product of the West

    Recently I read about large group of female Egyptian protesters
    including many Islamic women protesting against sexual harassment

    The protest ended when these women were surrounded+attacked by mobs of men who said women protesting was against Islamic law

    Are these women protesters getting harmed by mobs
    to be blamed on the West too?

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Rebecca Riot (86),

    “... Getting to grips with reasonable and fair, non religious, democratic government will take a very long time.”

    LOL! Your post implies that religions, as a collection, are neither reasonable nor fair. To paraphrase the question once put to Mahatma Gandhi: What do you think about Western democracy?
    Mahatma Gandhi: I think it would be a very good idea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    #59.Rebecca Riot
    Laws organize rights, balance and distribution of wealth. The West has been trying for millenniums to make up their own laws. It never worked.
    What kind of justice is that when the rich pay less taxes, when people are treated inequally or when people live&die not believing that God created us all and provided this universe with all the resources needed for our lives?

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    I've just read some of these comments with growing despair. There is no excuse to attack someone else's religion. Everyone has the right to their religious beliefs whether an ordinary citizen or a political leader. If Egypt has indeed elected Mohammed Mursi as President in a free and fair election, we must respect that choice. Egyptians need our support at this challenging time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Could some explain
    what consitutes a 'moderate'muslim,when muslim countries deny other faiths.
    Why when in European countries muslims try 'with some success' to impose their laws.
    When will muslims come to terms with the fact that they need to negotiate not fight those who are not muslims.
    Why do they as the oppressor present them selves as the oppressed

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    @ "the real prophet"
    Faith allows man to choose his own god. Religion aims to deny him that choice.
    You reckon? Check out Baqarah 256 of Qur'an. "Let there be NO compulsion in religion."

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    Faith allows man to choose his own god. Religion aims to deny him that choice.


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