CAIRO: The much-anticipated constitutional decree to be issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will be announced within a maximum of two days, said Minister of Justice Mohamed Al-Gendy in a press conference Sunday.
"The government is working toward a transition in which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces hands power to a civilian and democratic government as soon as possible," he said.
"The pre-determined six-month period in which the army council will be in power may be extended according to the constitutional decree," Al-Gendy said.
He also said that the Administrative Monitoring Authority and General Investigations Authority are now preparing case files against prominent figures in the ousted regime before taking them to court.
"Egypt now is a state of law and no one is above the law but we have to be accurate in our accusations so that they don’t get away," Al-Gendy said.
The trial of prominent regime figures like Safwat Al-Sherif, ex-Secretary General of the National Democratic Party (NDP), People Assembly’s Speaker Fathi Sorour, and Chief of the Presidential Staff Zakaria Azmy has been at the top of public demands.
Al-Gendy said that the government is working on repatriating money embezzled by previous officials but the process will take time since, according to international law, a judicial ruling is needed for foreign banks to access these officials’ accounts.
"The government needs this money more than the people and ongoing investigations and trials are steps in the right direction," he said.
He responded to controversy surrounding a proposed Cabinet bill penalizing "some protests, sit-ins and gatherings" which was refused by workers and trade unions.
"This bill deals with the disturbing phenomenon of increasing sector protests which aren’t spontaneous and systematically organized in a dubious manner and have hindered work and productivity at most government and private institutions," Al-Gendy said.
"We believe in everyone’s right to protest and organize sit-ins and strikes, these were the basis of the revolution and the bill doesn’t criminalize it as long as it doesn’t result in chaos," he added.
He said that the proposed law is temporary and will end once the state of emergency ends and that it only punishes those who commit acts of violence or hinder production or work.
The Egyptian Independent Federation of Trade Unions (EIFTU) called for a march Sunday night toward Cabinet headquarters in protest at this proposed law which has yet to be approved by the ruling army council.
"We are working on achieving all the peoples’ demands but there are a lot of difficulties, the most important of which are the economic problems, shortages in resources and the absence of security," Al-Gendy said.
"Many of the demands were met but protesters continuously raised the ceiling of demands in a way that will make it impossible to meet them now," he said.
An opinion poll on Cabinet’s official website showed that 64 percent of participants refused the bill while 36 percent accepted it.
Al-Gendy said that the government will never stand against the people’s will and every official is doing his best to achieve their demands as long as the resources allow it.
"These protests aim at breaking down the revolution by spreading chaos and we are calling the youth to protect the revolution in order to achieve its goals through economic development," Al-Gendy said.
"How can we provide jobs, increase production and resources and attract investors while work is paralyzed in many institutions and security and stability are absent," he added.
Al-Gendy said that Cabinet is studying laws criminalizing voter-buying during elections as well as modifying laws ensuring judicial independence.
He said that the anti-thuggery law is being strictly applied and targets acts of bullying that usually accompany elections.