Monday, February 28, 2011

Egypt's January 25 coalition opposes plan to hold elections already in June

 Left Alaa, right Gamal, the two sons of Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian prosecutor general has issued a travel ban for Mubarak, his wife, and his two sons and their families and has frozen their assets pending an investigation. (Photo Al-Masry al-Youm)

The army told one of Egypt’s main activist groups that it intends to hold parliamentary elections in June.
During a meeting last night with members of the January 25 coalition, a trio of generals said they want to follow the elections with a presidential poll two months later.
But the proposal was met with dismay by activists, who believe that such early elections will not give Egypt enough time to develop robust political parties without links to the old regime. Shady El-Ghazaly, of the liberal Democratic Front in the coalition, said: “If we have early elections it will probably mean just the Muslim Brotherhood and former NDP members getting into power.” Instead the coalition has proposed a 12-month interim government, with a “presidential council” of two lawyers or judges and one military figure ruling alongside a cabinet of technocrats.
The meeting was held at military headquarters in the east Cairo district of Abbassiya and lasted five hours The army also rejected calls for prime minister Ahmed Shafiq to immediately step down. Members of the 25 January coalition told the military that the best way to stem the tide of anger towards the government would be for Shafiq to resign. The generals did promise that he would eventueally go, but refused to give a timetable.
El-Ghazaly said activists “could not understand” the military’s position. They told the generals that Shafiq's departure would release a lot of tension and help slow down the protests.” The generals invited the coalition to direct talks with Shafiq, but the invitation was refused.
During the meeting the coalition also called for the resignation of five other cabinet ministers--Minister of Interior Lt. General Mahmoud Wagdy; Minister of the Justice Mamdouh Marei; Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Aboul Gheit; Minister of Trade and Industry Samir Youssef Ali El-Sayyad; and Minister of Petroleum Mahmoud Latif Amer.

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