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.

Analysis

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%.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 286.

    258.
    Joseph_F

    Turkish Army has 'intervened' at least 3 times in 50 years. They keep it secular, and that's why Turkey is stable. That will all go belly up if it becomes an Islamic state, and cue the thousands, if not millions of refugees into Europe. Think Afghanistan, only closer. Of course, it's just a coincidence that secularism and stability seem to go hand in hand. ;)

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 285.

    And will someone please explain to me what this idiotic and meaningless "Arab Spring" is about? They say they want freedom. Well, they already have the freedom to be a Muslim; what more do they want? Do they want the freedom to question Islam? No. Do they want rights for minorities? No. Do they want the freedom to follow other religions, and none? No. They haven't a clue what real freedom is.

  • Comment number 284.

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

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 283.

    279.Egyptian Why are you using Western dialogue? All these words, "freedom", "justice", "revolution" etc, are empty. Whose freedom? Whose prosperity? Whose justice? Sound bites like these are used by the media to take sides; to simplify complex reality. Are you so naive as to believe that your "revolution" is anything more than mass psychosis? Or that the Muslim Brotherhood will not persecute?

  • Comment number 282.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 281.

    To the people who belive a coup is justified to protect against the Brotherhood: What would satisfy you then? Certainly not democracy, if not to acknowledge a party chosen by the people. Do you believe because the party's ideals conflict with your own it is not suitable?
    Perhaps a favourable alternative would be to coup all these governments and install them with puppets; but that's not democracy

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 280.

    Put a military uniform on some one and they think they have extraordinary powers over civilians. In the land of the haves and the have nots priviledge comes via intimidation. What better way or sieze a superior position in society than by the gun. Guns make very convincing arguments even if the gun owner is mindless. That is why military juntas are the quick road to a career in unstable nations.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 279.

    I'm Egyptian citizen , participated in Egypt's peaceful Revolution and I voted for Mursi .

    Muslim brotherhood is a peaceful organization struggling for freedom , justice and prosperity of Egypt for 80 years.

    Despite being arrested , tortured and persecuted for many years , they've never participated in any sort of violence , but always struggling peacefully . You just have to support them .

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 278.

    zelod (277),

    "... but we are not buying it"

    No purchase necessary. The facts might be inconveninet for you, but they won't go away.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 277.

    @264. Chryses

    i just got home from work, nice to see you are still at it

    whatever makes you feel good there chrysy

    but we are not buying it

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 276.

    stuart @259
    "not good Muslims"

    Maybe. None good but God

    Not Christianity, Islam, Communism, even Capitalism, that fails, everywhere

    No partial insight, fleeting revelation, no 'naive goodness or simplicity', can sustain 'in-it-together civilisation', if we are 'divided & ruled' by fear and greed, by compelled 'love of money-advantage'

    Much to learn: debt-jubilee, equity-not-interest, etc

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 275.

    Egypt's peaceful protesters, Egypt's representative parties, had only one thing to offer, in the name of democracy, for almost all to be in support, army included: that all should have equal income, all to have work as able

    There was no need to 'insult' or 'threaten' existing 'leaders' of the army, of industry, of the professions. Only to ask them: "All others agreed, happy or not to be equal?"

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 274.

    I feel for the brave people of Egypt who fought and died to gain more freedoms only to see one dictatorship traded for another. Let us hope that fight was not in vain.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 273.

    @270 'the-moog'
    ~~
    You say I have no idea, ever. I suppose keeping an open mind is an anathama.

    I wish you well, and hope my measured responses were not frustrating. There are no winners if your only focus is on winning. Take it from me, I have lost many times from those with an enclosed or narrow view of life - in all spheres.

    Life is difficult - don't be misled by others with a simple agenda.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 272.

    Gongratulation to Muslim Brotherhood for a fair clean win.
    However,Egyptian need to tread very carefully,I see Algeria all over when Islamic party won the election the army decided to annul them...and the rest is history....civil war.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 271.

    Western idealists and meddlers fail to understand that stability and order are all that matter. Only under these conditions can a healthy Nation State develop and prosper - ultimately with good conditions for the citizens. That is why the Arab Spring is, and was, a mistake. It would have been far better for Egypt to have kept Hosni Mubarak, just as it would have been far better to keep Gaddafi.

  • Comment number 270.

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

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 269.

    @267 'the-moog'
    ~~
    No idea. No doubt you know better.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 268.

    I'd like to thank BBC moderators for not deleting my posts.
    I wanted to defend our choice and our right to choose what we think is best for our country, Egypt. We hope to have an Islamic state that ensures justice for Muslim, Christian & female Egyptians. We hope there will be better candidates next time.
    I also hope people wouldn't hate Islam without trying to know it

    bye

  • Comment number 267.

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

 

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