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Egypt's ruling military council sticks to transition schedule

05-04-2012 08:29 BJT

CAIRO, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's ruling military council members said on Thursday it would ensure the transparency of the upcoming presidential elections and stick to the transition plan to hand over power by June 30.

Major General Mohamed al-Assar told a press conference the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will deliver the power before June 30 after the Egyptians elect their president.

"We have no interest in forging the elections. We don't support any candidate, and we ensure transparent presidential elections," said Assar, also member of the SCAF.

Representatives from 45 countries have been invited and three foreign nongovernment organizations allowed to monitor the election. Thirteen candidates are qualified to run in the presidential vote, with former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and Islamist Abu Fotouh the most promising.

He said the military council regretted over the casualties in the recent clashes near the Defense Ministry premises. He urged the youths to leave the sensitive area and hoped the transitional period to end smoothly.

Early Wednesday, protestors against the military rule were attacked by a group of unidentified people. The two sides hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at each other, leaving nine people dead and 168 injured.

The new clashes cast shadow on the stability ahead of the historic presidential vote on May 23 and 24, the first after the fall of ex-President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 under the pressure of the mass anti-government protests.

The military council urged all Egyptians to unite and support the armed forces so as to pass the current critical period.

"The hard period needs us all to stand together and close our differences... to ensure our stable and secure transfer to the ' second republic," said Assar.

Mokhtar el-Mulla, another major general of the SCAF, warned no one would be able to derail the roadmap under which SCAF is managing the transitional period.

Mulla hinted the latest violence was meant to foil the presidential elections, just as what had happened before the parliamentary elections late last year.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, has repeatedly demanded the resignation of the current caretaker government. But the military generals denied crisis between the parliament and cabinet, saying the SCAF alone has the power to fire the government.

Newly-elected Islamist lawmakers, led by the FJP, rejected the performance of the government and urged the military council to sack it and let the FJP form a new one. As there is not much time left before the presidential vote, the current government is expected to last until a new president is elected.

The transition period is far from being smooth. The standoff of the constituent assembly remains. Liberal and secular parties boycotted the Islamist-dominated, 100-member assembly, which was later suspended by court.

Hussein Tantawi, chairman of the SCAF, has organized four meetings with leaders of political parties to resolve the crisis. But no breakthrough has been achieved in this respect. The military council had expected a new constitution should be written before a new president is elected.

If on one wins in the first round of presidential elections, a run-off will be held on June 16 and 17. The results will be announced on June 21.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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