Egyptians protest against "constitutional coup"

Published June 19th, 2012 - 12:40 GMT

Tahrir Square in Cairo was preparing Tuesday, for a large demonstration against the "constitutional coup" carried out by the military council, which have been granted extensive powers allowing it to remain in power whatever the outcome of the presidential election.

The two rivals in the vote, which ended Sunday, i.e. the Muslim Brotherhoods leader Mohammed Morsi and former Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq, each claim victory. Official results are expected on Thursday.

Mohamed Morsi on Monday claimed victory in the presidential election on the basis of initial results which gave him 52% of the vote. His campaign managers reiterated Tuesday that he had made the score after a count of all the ballots.

But Ahmad Shafiq's camp strongly protested against this claim ensuring that the retired general was leading in preliminary results. Supporters of Ahmad Shafiq accused the Islamists of trying to "steal" the victory by publishing "false figures".

The calls for the protest were made by pro-democracy organizations with the support of the Muslim Brotherhoods. The rally is planned in the afternoon in the famous Cairo's Tahrir Square in the center of the Egyptian capital.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), in power since the downfall of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 by a popular revolt, on Monday confirmed its willingness to hand over powers to the future of president before the end of June. But the next head of state will be in practice unable to pass any law without the consent of the military council members, who have decided to take over legislative powers in the wake of the dissolution of the newly elected Parliament, dominated by Islamists.

On Saturday, the Parliament was officially dissolved by the army on the basis of a court decision invalidating the voting held last November to January 2012. A new parliament is not expected to be elected before the end of the year.

The Muslim Brotherhoods and other movements see the recent actions of the military council as a "constitutional coup", which in effect transformed the presidency into an empty shell. "The Muslim Brotherhoods and the army are preparing for the battle on Parliament," wrote Tuesday the liberal al-Wafd daily.

The army also reserves the right to intervene in the process of drafting the future constitution and retains the powers to arrest civilians. It also reserves all matters relating to the armed forces, including the right to appoint or dismiss officers.

Scores of people demonstrated Tuesday outside the headquarters of Parliament, protesting against its dissolution. Access to the building was blocked by cordons of riot police.


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