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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Egypt pushes off elections

From Bikya Masr:
The country’s ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces on Wednesday announced it was moving back elections that had been scheduled for September until October or possibly November. The move was met with widespread skepticism and frustration.

“It has been decided to hold elections for the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council next October or November,” the state-run MENA news agency quoted a military official as saying on Wednesday, in reference to the lower and upper houses of parliament.

Despite the delay, the military rulers who took power after 18 days of street protests ousted President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, stated their continued support for democracy and a transition to civilian rule.

The same official added that the military “is committed to its previous announcement that the electoral process would start six months from the constitutional declaration” of March.

“This means that the electoral process for the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council would start before the end of September,” the official said.

After the announcement by the military, debate ensued. Many felt it was too little too late and the interim government and the military were not doing enough to meet the protesters demands.

The ministry of interior, however, hoped that its concurrent announcement would also bring about a change in perception among the protesters. It announced that they would fire some 600 police officers accused of participating in the attacks on civilians in January and February during the uprising.

Still, it didn’t appear to be enough for the few hundred protesters maintaining their sit-in in central Cairo.

“We want an end to the old guard, former ruling party members and we want to see the trials of Mubarak and Adly and others for what they have done to us and this country,” 31-year-old Ahmed Gabr told Bikya Masr. He has been in Tahrir daily since July 8, when the sit-in began with a massive gathering activists hoped would push the country forward on the right path.

Not all Egyptians are throwing their weight behind the sit-in, however, with a growing section of Egyptian society beginning to wane in their support for public action that has brought downtown Cairo to a near standstill and saw the country’s main administrative building forced closed for three days this week.

“They are not us. They don’t speak for us. What is our life right now? It is the same and we are losing jobs and money, but they don’t seem to care,” said Goma’a Mohamed, a Cairo electrician.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.