Egypt to Hold Presidential Vote First as Nation Faces Unrest

Sunday, 26 Jan 2014 09:26 AM


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CAIRO — Egypt’s interim president said his successor will be elected before the nation chooses a new parliament, changing the order of a political transition that has been rocked by violence since the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi in July.

President Adly Mansour announced he would change the sequence of elections in a televised speech today, without giving dates for either vote. The decision may help to provide clarity on whether Defense Minister Abdelfatah al-Seesi will run for leader,  something millions of Egyptians have clamored for him to do since the military ousted the Islamist Morsi.

Thousands cheered al-Seesi at weekend rallies marking the third anniversary of the uprising that pushed President Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011. The divisions that have rent Egypt since Mubarak’s departure have deepened since Morsi was toppled, and clashes nationwide over the weekend between the former Islamist leader’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters and security forces left at least 49 dead, according to the Health Ministry.

Some activists have voiced concern that holding presidential elections first would indicate the current government isn’t fully committed to steer Egypt to democracy, despite the passage of a new constitution earlier this month.

Mansour, in a televised speech, said he changed the order of elections after holding “many talks with national powers and representatives from various sectors of society.”

He also vowed Egypt would prevail over the “terrorism” with which it was grappling and that the government would not hesitate to take any exceptional measures to ensure security and the transition process. The government recently labeled the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.

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