Sunday, January 26, 2014
Egypt will hold presidential elections first - stepping stone to installation of Sisi as strongman?
Egypt will hold a presidential vote before electing parliament, President Adly Mansour said on Sunday, reneging on a roadmap and increasing the likelihood that army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be elected as head of state within months.
Parliamentary elections were supposed to happen first under the timetable agreed after the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July following mass protests against his rule.
"I have taken my decision to amend the roadmap for the future in that we will start by holding the presidential elections first followed by the parliamentary elections," Mansour said in a televised speech.
Critics have campaigned for a change of the roadmap, saying the country needs an elected leader to direct government at a time of economic and political crisis and to forge a political alliance before a potentially divisive parliamentary election.
Opponents say it risks creating a president with unchecked power. Were that Sisi, who is widely tipped to win, it would put the army back in command, like the position it was in after president Mubarak was deposed and before president Morsi was elected.
Update: On Monday 27 January president Adly Mansour promoted general Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi to the rank of field marshal, the highest military rank of the country, in a move that further strenghtened the suspicions that al-Sisi shortly will announce his candidacy for the post of president.