As support for the leader of July’s coup in Egypt continues to grow and violence escalates, the country’s interim leader has announced that there will be an early election. This will ensure that the Egyptian people chose a new president before a new parliament is elected in July or before.
This decision was announced today by interim President Adly Mansour, just 24 hours after scores more people had been killed in violent clashes between protestors and police. Hundreds more were wounded, and at least 1,000 people were arrested. This move is an amendment to the “roadmap” that was originally created for the country’s “transition” to a true democracy.
In a speech that was televised today, Mansour said he had discussed the matter with political groups and the majority were in favor of putting the presidential elections before the parliamentary polls. He said he would follow procedure and ask the Supreme Electoral Committee (SEC) to call for presidential candidates in keeping with the new national charter’s Article 230. It is understood the elections will be in April.
According to the newly approved charter, Mansour is permitted to alter the original post-Morsi plan that stated a new constitution would be followed first by parliamentary and then presidential elections. The one prerequisite is that the second poll or election must happen within six months of ratification of the constitution. For this reason many have welcome that a new president of Egypt will be chosen in an early election before a new parliament takes up its place.
The violence in Egypt has escalated in recent days in the build-up to the third anniversary of the revolution yesterday. In addition to the violent clashes already mentioned, there have been bombings and a number of targeted attacks, one on an army bus in the north of Sinai that killed three soldiers. A military helicopter was also downed over the weekend.
Nevertheless, support has continued to grow for coup leader, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi whom many see as the obvious leader for the newly liberated country. This is one of the prime reasons that those who support him believe it is essential for the country to choose a president before there is a vote for parliament. It is also the major reason behind the decision to hold an early election.
Mohammed Morsi, a devoted Islamist, was Egypt’s first president to be democratically elected after the downfall of autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak, leader of the country for nearly three decades. His presidency lasted only one year before he was ousted in the coup led by Gen. el-Sissi last year.
Ahmed Gamaleddin, leader of a political party alliance called Egypt my Country, believes that holding the presidential elections before the parliamentary polls is the key to faster stability. Many of those whom he represents were formerly military and security officials who worked in the old regime.
There have already been rallies in Egypt that have seen crowds with posters of the general that they call “my president.” Nevertheless the violent clashes continue and those who disagree with the decision to choose a president for Egypt in an early election, before parliament is chosen, are skeptical.
By Penny Swift