CAIRO: Several political groups and movements are launching a new initiative for the transfer of power from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to the newly-elected People’s Assembly.
In a press conference Sunday at Al-Shorouk newspaper headquarters, writer Yasser Al-Zayyat argued that SCAF ruled Egypt as a de-facto authority with “vacant legitimacy,” since no entity claimed leadership [over the people] during the revolution.
“Under the mandate of its deformed constitution, it [the military council] has lost its legitimacy at least six months ago,” a joint statement read, “On the other hand, for the first time in 60 years, we have an elected parliament, poised to become the most democratic and legitimate institution in this country.”
The groups who singed this initiative – such as the April 6 Youth Movement, the Free Front for Peaceful Change, the Popular Movement for the Independence of Al-Azhar, the Justice Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance amongst others – said that the parliament should take hold of the functions and “revolutionary demands” in lieu of the military council. This will require that SCAF hand over its rule to parliament in the upcoming days.
As part of the initiative, a series of protests and marches are planned in order to pressure SCAF into leaving. Voters from polls in Dokki, Agouza, Fayoum, Mansoura, Haram and others have organized marches Sunday to support the MPs who won in their respective election circles and to offer them a list of their unmet demands.
Three marches slated for Jan. 23, dubbed “Retribution,” “Social Justice” (planned by the Union of Independent Workers) and “No to Military Trials” will start from Abdel Moneim Riad Square, Qasr Al-Aini, and the High Court of Justice, respectively, and meet at the parliament building.
A voter-driven initiative, Abdel Ghani Hindi of the Popular Movement for the Independence of Al-Azhar, said that [the initiative] is addressed to “the people in the street” who have their elected their MPs whose representative capacity should manifest [in parliament] immediately.
“We don’t care who sits in parliament, whether it be the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), a conservative party or any other. Our initiative addresses and is directed towards the people on the street.
“By rejecting the military council, we need to find an alternative. Now we have an elected institution that can, in its best efforts, replace the council,” Gihan Shaaban, member of the Socialist Popular Alliance said.
According to the timetable set by these groups, the transitional period will be two months, and early presidential elections will be held.
“The main reason behind having the transition now – and in response to an often-asked question in the streets of: ‘why not wait until 15/4 [presidential nominations]?’ – is that the military council has interest in two main events that will take place, which are: drafting a constitution, and the presidential elections,” prominent activist Shady Al-Ghazaly Harb said.
In Harb’s opinion, the military council could insert an article in the constitution that shields it, and might also show support for one candidate over another.
Several scenarios can unfold once the parliament is ceded executive power. According to Mohammed Ibrahim from the Youth of Justice Party, the parliament may appoint its president to rule over the transitional period, or place a coalition government and transfer to it the council’s accountabilities, or elect MPs or other member outside parliament by a vote of third of the parliament.
When MPs finally sit in the parliamentary sessions, they will have to contend with fulfilling the main demands of the revolution including setting a minimum and maximum wage, ending military trials, accelerating the independence of the judiciary, and freeing the media from a “still-existing totalitarian regime,” Ibrahim added.