Egypt’s Islamists decline earlier end to army rule
CAIRO - The Associated Press
Egyptian protesters throw stones toward army soldiers during clashes near Tahrir. Egypt’s prime minister called for national dialogue to resolve the political crisis. AP photoEgypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which is leading in parliament elections that continued yesterday, refused to join calls by secular and liberal activists for the ruling military to move up its handover of power to civilians. The Brotherhood has refused to participate in the protests which demand that the generals who took power after the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February step down to let civilians rule and it rejected Dec. 20 proposals for moving up the handover of power by the military.
“We don’t get into conflict with anybody. We don’t believe in this policy (of protests). Any clash is a pure evil. We don’t have any interest in confrontation,” said Sobhi Saleh, a leading Brotherhood figure who won a parliament seat in an earlier round of the elections. In a statement, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said the proposals were unconstitutional and “will not solve the current crisis.” Instead, it called for “full-throttle efforts to complete the legislative elections.” Egypt Dec. 21 held a run-off vote from its second round of voting, which continued yesterday.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s military-appointed prime minister yesterday called for a national dialogue to resolve the country’s ongoing political crisis and pleads for a two-month calm to restore security. Kamal el-Ganzouri also told a news conference yesterday that the ruling military, which took over from longtime leader Hosni Mubarak 10 months ago, is eager to relinquish power, but he did not elaborate. El-Ganzouri, 78, is a Mubarak-era prime minister appointed by the military last month.
Egypt’s ruling military, however, has escalated its tone against pro-democracy activists, warning of an attempt to “topple the state” as government media said a plot had been uncovered to use upcoming protests to throw the country into a civil war. The ruling military council Dec. 21 issued a statement on its Facebook page saying more protests are aimed at “toppling the state.” The statements stepped up a campaign by the military that has seemed intended to demonize protesters in the eyes of the Egyptian public. The warnings could signal a heavier crackdown on activists.