Egypt on edge ahead of elections

2011-11-27 19:02

kalahari.com

Cairo - Egypt's army rulers, protesters and future political leaders were locked in a fierce power struggle on Sunday that set the country on edge ahead of the first elections since its revolution.

Egyptians go to the polls on Monday to cast their first votes for a new parliament after the end of the 30-year rule of strongman Hosni Mubarak, forced from power last February in one of the seminal moments of the Arab Spring.

The run-up to voting in the cultural heart of the Arab world and region's most populous country has been marred by violence and fears of chaos as the army, protesters and new political figures jostle for influence.

Protesters have again occupied Tahrir Square, epicentre of the mass protests that drove Mubarak from power, but this time they want the resignation of the new military rulers who stepped in to fill the void left by his departure.

Thousands gathered on Sunday morning ahead of a planned "million-person march" called by The Revolution Youth Coalition to reject a 78-year-old caretaker prime minister appointed by the army.

"Down with the military!" shouted a group of young men gathered on the edge of the square underneath a lamppost from which an effigy dressed in army green was hanging by the neck.

Feeding the anger of those assembled in Tahrir, many of whom carried visible injuries from last week's unrest, a 19-year-old demonstrator was crushed to death on Saturday by a police truck outside the cabinet office.

The demonstrators fear that Egypt's temporary military rulers are looking to consolidate their influence and are too quick to resort to Mukarak-era tactics of violence and repression when faced with opposition.

"They don't want to give back power," said 18-year-old student Raghda, who was visiting the square before the afternoon demonstration.

Crisis

The generals, led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, have pushed back the original timetable for handing over power to a civilian government and demanded a final say on all legislation concerning the army in the future.

Outside the square, the political leaders expected to shape the democratic future of the country of over 80 million people are locked in a fight for power with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

In an effort to resolve the crisis, Tantawi called a meeting with all political party leaders and future presidential candidates, but it was boycotted by several leading figures.

Tantawi warned on Sunday that no one would be allowed to pressure the armed forces and asked senior political leaders Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the UN nuclear watchdog, and ex-Arab League chief Amr Mussa for support.

"We are faced with enormous challenges and we will not allow any individual or party to pressure the armed forces," he told reporters, asking that ElBaradei and Mussa "support the government of Kamal al-Ganzuri."

Ganzuri, a 78-year-old Mubarak-era premier, was appointed last week.

The violence over the past week, which has seen police use live ammunition and tear gas on protesters, has cast a pall over the start of voting that was intended to usher in a new democratic era.

Legal limbo

Also on Sunday, the influential Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, expected to be the biggest party in the new parliament, said it should form a new government if it emerges as the largest parliamentary bloc.

"If the government is not representative of parliament, the assembly will block all its decisions," spokesperson Mahmud Ghozlan told AFP.

There is great uncertainty over how the new parliament, to be elected in stages over the next six weeks, will function because of a lack of clarity from SCAF and the legal limbo until a new constitution is written.

The unrest has led to calls for the elections - spread in three stages over six weeks in a complicated process - to be delayed because of deteriorating security and the threat of boycotts.

Two days of voting from Monday will take place in the main cities of Cairo and Alexandria as well as Fayum, Luxor, Port Said, Damietta, Kafr el-Sheikh and the Red Sea province.

Other cities and regions follow on December 14 and January 3.

Read more on:    hussein tantawi  |  mohamed elbaradei  |  egypt  |  egypt elections  |  uprisings
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!

Printed sheets of flexible solar cells can mean your electronic devices can soon be charged with the use of renewable energy.

 
 

For chic geeks...

Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents
This lock means keys are something of the past!
7 things you didn't know about Apple

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off new fiction books!

Save 30% on new captivating books from great authors such as Wilbur Smith, James Pettereson and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

As the Moon moves out of restless Gemini into sensitive Cancer today you are able to relax your active mind and be more receptive...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.