Egypt Unrest: Liberal Opposition Rejects Transition Plan

Egypt Interim Leader

The main liberal opposition coalition in Egypt has rejected interim leader Adly Mansour’s decree, which sets a new poll timetable to stop the unrest.

The National Salvation Front (NSF) demanded more changes and consultation on the document.

Both the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, and the Tamarod protest movement earlier rejected the decree.

The Mansour plan also envisages changes to the Islamist-drafted constitution.

In other developments on Tuesday:

  • Mr Mansour named ex-Finance Minister Hazem el-Beblawi as new Prime Minister
  • in turn, Mr el-Beblawi pledged to give cabinet posts to Muslim Brotherhood members – an offer immediately rejected by Mohamed Kamal, senior member of the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)
  • Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi warned against any attempts to disrupt the country’s “difficult” transition
  • two people were killed when suspected Islamists attacked a security checkpoint in the Sinai province

Egypt has been in turmoil since the democratically-elected Mr Morsi was overthrown by the army last week, with protesters both for and against the ousted president massing on the streets.

On Monday, at least 51 people – mostly pro-Morsi supporters from his Muslim Brotherhood movement – were killed outside the barracks where he is thought to be held.

‘Putchist’ decree

“The National Salvation Front announces its rejection of the constitutional decree,” the liberal opposition said in a statement.

The NSF said it was not consulted on the document vital to Egypt’s political transition, demanding changes to the proposal.

The coalition – which was led by Mohamed ElBaradei until his appointment as Egypt’s deputy president – did not elaborate further.

The Muslim Brotherhood – which is pressing for the immediate reinstatement of Mr Morsi – earlier also rejected the decree.

Essam al-Erian, deputy chairman of the FJP, said the document was “a constitutional decree by a man appointed by putchists”.

Even the Tamarod movement – which led the anti-Morsi protests – said it had not been consulted on the election plan, asking to see the interim leader to discuss the situation.

Mr Mansour’s decree, issued late on Monday, laid out plans to set up a panel to amend the suspended Islamist-drafted constitution within 15 days.

The changes would then be put to a referendum – to be organised within four months – which would pave the way for parliamentary elections, possibly in early 2014.

Once the new parliament convenes, elections would be called to appoint a new president.

Army warning

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Sisi said warned in a televised speech that the “future of the nation is too important and sacred for manoeuvres or hindrance, whatever the justifications”.

He said that neither the army nor the people of Egypt would accept “the stalling or disruption” of this “difficult and complex” period.

According to the BBC’s Wyre Davies, in Cairo, emotions are still raw and compromise is a word many people are not ready to use.

Mr Morsi’s removal last Wednesday followed days of mass protests by people who accused him of becoming increasingly authoritarian, pursuing an Islamist agenda, and failing to tackle Egypt’s economic woes.

The army’s moves were welcomed by some Gulf states, and two – the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – have made major pledges of financial help in a show of support for the new administration.

But other nations were strongly against the army’s actions – perhaps the most vocal of which was Turkey.

In the aftermath of the ousting of Mr Morsi, Turkish Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: “It is unacceptable for a government, which has come to power through democratic elections, to be toppled through illicit means and, even more, a coup.”



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