As votes are counted, Egypt's military says political handover will go on as scheduled
Egypt is once more facing a political crisis. Its parliament was dissolved and its military rulers have assumed more power for themselves. But a democratically elected president should be named by Thursday. It's expected to be Mohamed Morsi, but how much power he'll have remains to be seen.
Egypt is in a bit of turmoil as the ruling military moves to consolidate its power while simultaneously declaring that it will hand over governing power as scheduled on June 30.
All of this comes at th same time that votes are being counted in the presidential election held over the weekend. The Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Morsi, appears to have won by a few percentage points, but he faces a competing claim by his challenger, Ahmed Shafik, a former Air Force general and prime minister to former President Hosni Mubarak. The results won't be made official until later this week, either way.
Egypt was supposed to be under civilian rule by the end of this month, but the military's move to disband the also Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Parliament, after a panel of Mubarak-appointed judges declared its election to be invalid, raises questions about whether such a date can be met. The military further complicated matters by declaring that a new constitution would be written by a panel of 100 experts of its own choosing, rather than by a panel of 100 people appointed by Parliament.
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The military, seeking to quel growing discontent, conducted a two-hour news conference Monday morning where they insisted the people could trust the military, and that they didn't want permanent power.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood is mounting a coordinated challenge toward the military and its efforts to consolidate power.
“They neither have legislative power or presidential power,” Jihad el-Haddad, a Brotherhood spokesman, said to The New York Times. “We don’t need to hear any excuses from them. If they want to hand over power, they can give back the Parliament and undo what they have done.”
The Brotherhood has said they will engage the military generals in political negotiations, in court challenges as well as with threats of protests on the streets of Egypt.
"“It is a chessboard. They made a move and we made a move," el-Haddad said to The Times.
According to the BBC, members of Parliament are expected to try and enter the legislature sometime on Tuesday, despite being barred from entering by the court decision.
Official results of the presidential election are expected Thursday.