CAIRO: Political powers offered different suggestions and continued the debate about presidential elections and transition scenarios even after the Advisory Council said shortening the transitional period is off the table.
The Advisory Council, recently formed by Egypt’s military rulers, announced that there are no plans to hold presidential elections sooner than June 30 as scheduled to allow more time for drafting the constitution.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) had approved a proposal by the Advisory Council Saturday to move up the Shoura Council elections so it ends by Feb. 22 instead of mid-March for the same reason.
Amr Hamzawy and Mostafa El-Nagar, outspoken liberals and elected members of parliament, recently proposed a transfer power from SCAF to the parliament and the to-be-elected president through holding the presidential elections in early April.
Meanwhile, a number of activists and public figures proposed a transfer of power through holding the presidential elections immediately after the parliamentary elections.
Around 65 political activists gathered Saturday to offer their proposals to open the door for the presidential elections on the first anniversary of the Jan. 25 Revolution, announce the final list of candidates on Feb. 11, and inaugurate a new president within 60 days of the date of announcing the names.
Al-Karama Party, which is part of the Democratic Alliance spearheaded by the Freedom and Justice Party, suggested that SCAF open the door for presidential candidacy a week before Jan. 25, 2012, and still hold elections as scheduled.
"This would allow Egyptians to celebrate the first anniversary of the revolution and be satisfied that power will be handed over to a civilian authority without any obstacles," Mohamed Bayoumi, outspoken leader of the party, previously told Daily News Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) rejected the aforementioned proposals saying in a statement that moving up the presidential elections would lead to chaos.
Essam El-Erian, vice head of the FJP and outspoken MB leader, told Reuters that by holding the presidential elections before the end of the People’s Assembly and Shoura Council elections and enabling them to draft a new constitution, there is a risk it would grant the new president broad powers.
"We will not make a new Mubarak," he said.
Essam Sheha, legal expert and member of the high committee of the liberal Al-Wafd Party, believes that committing to the scheduled June 30 date is the best option to a smooth transfer of power to civilian rule.
On the other hand, Ahmed Emam, of the National Front for Justice and Democracy, told DNE that he believes this "defective" road map was imposed on the people who are forced to follow it.
"If SCAF stepped down from power this won’t lead to chaos," he said. "There are many other options if they don’t want to hold presidential elections on time and that would guarantee that SCAF leave power which it doesn’t want."
Emam suggested that SCAF transfers power to the government or the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court or the Advisory Council.
"SCAF is reluctant to leave power until it guarantees that the to-be drafted constitution would ensure a peaceful exit without accountability," Emam said.
Mansour Hassan, head of the Advisory Council told Al-Shorouk newspaper Tuesday that the council agreed with SCAF to leave the subject of forming the constituent assembly to the parliament.
"I hope this clarification will be enough to end the confusion on this subject," Hassan said.
The Advisory Council has been discussing the procedures for forming the constituent assembly which a number of coalitions and powers deemed as a means for SCAF to interfere in the yet-to-be drafted constitution.
What is of most importance at the moment, Emam said, is to set the criteria for the assembly that should engage all segments of the society.
"However, this is not the real aim of the ongoing controversy," he said pointing out that the debate has been centered around what SCAF will give the people in exchange for what they will take.
"It turned into dividing authorities and who does what," he added.