By Jonathan Wright and Marwa Awad /Reuters
CAIRO: Some organizers of protests that toppled Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak said on Wednesday they had formed a “Council of Trustees” to negotiate on the country’s transition to democracy with the ruling military council.
Egypt’s Higher Military Council took control of the country of 80 million people last week when Mubarak resigned after over two weeks of massive protests against his 30-year rule.
“The head of the regime is gone but the body of the regime is still here,” Abdullah Al-Ashaal, a former ambassador and a university professor, told a new conference announcing the formation of the council. “I’m worried there is much uncertainty about this transitional period.”
One of its members, former army brigadier Magdy Aaty, told Reuters: “The council will seek to initiate dialogue with the Higher Military Council to carve out the way forward in the transitional period.
“The members of the council of trustees represent all the various groups and coalitions of protesters who were behind the uprising.”
The council’s membership includes political scientist Hassan Nafaa, Judge Zakaria Abdel-Aziz, Mohamed El-Beltagi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Khaled Abdel-Qader Ouda, an academic, author Alaa El-Aswany, and veteran television presenter Mahmoud Saad, among others.
The army has set up a committee to carry out constitutional amendments before new parliamentary and presidential elections. The council wants to be in contact with the military to help usher in democratic reforms.
The army is already liaising with a committee formed to steer through constitutional amendments, made up of judicial figures, but the 19-member council announced on Wednesday wants to ensure a wider group of public figures have a say.
The protest movement was partly organized by young activists outside the framework of known opposition political groups, which were marginalized under Mubarak’s authoritarian rule.
Others groups are also being formed to monitor the transition process, including a “Coordinating Committee for the Masses of the Revolution” combining nine groups that took part in the protests that brought down Mubarak.
The Brotherhood’s Beltagi called on the presidency and the cabinet to be “without symbols of the corrupt regime, completely separate from the old regime.”
“That era is over and we cannot allow it to be reborn,” he said.