Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood calls for anti-military protest
By Rizwan Khatik - Tue Jun 19, 5:13 pm
CAIRO—The Muslim Brotherhood is stepping up its campaign against an interim constitution declared by Egypt’s ruling military that curtails the powers of the next president, calling for protests Tuesday in Cairo and other cities.
The protests mark the opening of the possible next chapter in Egypt’s turmoil — a power struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood, which claims its candidate won this weekend’s presidential runoff, and the generals, who have carved out for themselves a status as the ultimate rulers even after they nominally hand over authorities to the new president on by July 1.
Brotherhood supporters are also protesting a court ruling last week that dissolved parliament, where the group was the largest bloc with just under half the seats.
On Tuesday, a handful of lawmakers made symbolic attempts to enter parliament, but were met by a locked gate and a line of anti-riot soldiers on the other side.
The court ruling has been endorsed by the military, whose leader, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, issued a decree dissolving the legislature. The Brotherhood and its Islamist allies dismissed the decree on the ground that the military ruler had no right to issue it less than two weeks before the scheduled transfer of power to civilians.
Spokesmen for the campaign of Mohammed Morsi, the Brotherhood presidential candidate, said other political groups were expected to join Tuesday’s planned anti-military protests. April 6, one of the main revolutionary groups behind last year’s uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime, confirmed it would participate.
How much others participate will be a key measure of whether the Islamist group can rally secular and leftist movements to its side.
The Cairo stock market fell for the second straight day, down 4.2 per cent on the main index Tuesday and shedding 8.3 billion LE, over worries about the political instability.
The campaign spokesmen repeated their claim that Morsi, a U.S.-trained engineer, won 52 per cent of the votes compared to 48 by Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister and a career air force officer.
The election commission will announce the final, official results on Thursday. The Shafiq campaign has not acknowledged defeat and charges that results issued by the rival camp are untrue.
Besides curtailing the powers of the next president, the generals’ declaration shields the military from civilian oversight of its affairs, grants it control of the national budget as well as the process of drafting a constitution.