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Backroom dialogue to end Tahrir impasse

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SCAF and FJP meet to disperse Tahrir sit-in

An on-going sit-in in Tahrir Square, led by members of the Islamist party Freedom and Justice (FJP) and aimed at the military council’s expansion of powers, might be dissolved by tactful backroom dialogue between the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and the party. Khairat Al-Shater, who runs the brotherhood’s finances and strategic planning, told Reuters late on Thursday, they “have met with [SCAF] to discuss how to get out of this crisis after parliament was dissolved and the new president’s powers curbed”. “But the generals feel they are the proprietors of power and have not yet reached a level of real compromise,” he added.

Sources that requested anonymity from both sides confirmed there had been several meetings, according to news reports; FJP officials said SCAF is aiming at “entrenching military rule.” A member of SCAF, Major General Mamdouh Shaheen, verified the meetings and ensured the military’s commitment to the transition to democracy. He also declared SCAF’s rejection of the Brotherhood’s calls to cancel the June 17 decree, giving a lot of powers to the military council, saying it was necessary for the interim.
By decree, SCAF took over legislative power after the dissolution of the majority Islamist parliament. The dissolution was prompted by a judicial ruling that found some voting regulations unconstitutional. Both sides insist the result of the run-off vote was not being discussed. They confirmed that the official announcement of a result is delayed because of various appeals and irregularities, the
Presidential Election Commission told Reuters.
But in the past 16 months, a level of collaboration has developed – one that has troubled those who want neither unshakable military nor religious rule. Each side worries about the opponent having absolute control. According to Reuters, the brotherhood sees
a “deep state” left intact in the wake of former president Hosni Mubarak’s departure, and the army fears an Iranian-style clerical takeover.

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