As the Brotherhood claims victory in the presidential election, the military grants itself sweeping powers. But the Brotherhood declares that move “null and void.” This is not likely to end peacefully. “Egypt’s military grants itself sweeping powers,” from the BBC, June 18 (thanks to David):
Egypt’s ruling military has issued a declaration granting itself sweeping powers, as the country awaits results of Sunday’s presidential elections.
The document by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf) says new general elections cannot be held until a permanent constitution is drawn up.
Opposition groups condemned the move as amounting to a military coup.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood says unofficial results show its candidate, Mohammed Mursi, has won the election.
The Scaf issued its declaration late on Sunday – just hours after the polls closed.
It confirmed on Monday that it plans to hand over power to the winner of the poll at the end of June.
However, the constitutional declaration issued by the Scaf effectively gives it legislative powers, control over the budget and over who writes the permanent constitution following mass street protests that toppled Mr Mubarak, reports say. It also strips the president of any authority over the army.
However, prominent political figure Mohamed ElBaradei already described the document as a “grave setback for democracy and revolution”.
Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the first round of voting and was the favoured candidate of many in the protest movement, said the declaration was a “seizure of the future of Egypt”.
“We will not accept domination by any party,” Mr Sabahi said.
Another former presidential candidate, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, called the declaration “unconstitutional”, while the influential 6 April protest movement called for mass demonstrations on Tuesday against the declaration.
Despite the celebrations by Muslim Brotherhood supporters at the Mursi campaign headquarters and in Tahrir Square that started in the early hours, this was not a clear victory.
Just as polls closed, the ruling generals issued a new constitutional declaration that will keep their hands on the reins of power and restrict the role of the new president.
The military made themselves Egypt’s lawmakers after parliament was dissolved last week. They have control over the national budget and heavy influence over who writes the new permanent constitution.
At a lengthy news conference on Monday to give more details, armed forces spokesmen insisted that their legislative power would be “restricted”. Maj Gen Mohamed al-Assar said a ceremony would take place at the end of the month to hand over to the new president.
If Mr Mursi is confirmed in that role, a power struggle between the Brotherhood and the military – two of Egypt’s strongest forces – could ensue.
Parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood said the declaration was “null and void”….