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Rediff News  All News  » News » Egypt's interim Prez vows fresh polls after 54 killed

Egypt's interim Prez vows fresh polls after 54 killed

July 09, 2013 14:38 IST

Egypt's interim leader has vowed fresh elections by early next year after deadly clashes between supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi and soldiers outside the army headquarters killed at least 54 people.

Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour issued a constitutional declaration on Monday giving himself limited power to make laws, and outlined a timetable for parliamentary and presidential elections, according to state media.

Mansour issued the anticipated declaration that will remain effective until the end of the ongoing transitional period, which will last for least six months, according to the decree.

The transitional period was started upon the issuing of the constitutional declaration on Monday night and ends after the presidential elections, due next year.

Parliamentary elections should take place during the transitional period before the presidential polls, the decree said.

This means that elections would take place by early February at the latest.

The moves by the interim president were clearly meant to appeal to supporters of the coup -- but unlikely to appease Morsi's supporters.

Clashes between them and security forces killed 54 people yesterday, and wounded another 435. It was the deadliest day in Cairo since the revolution that forced former President Hosni Mubarak from office in 2011.

The clash took place outside the the Republican Guard headquarters, where 61-year-old toppled president is said to have been put "under guard".

The army, in a statement, said "an armed terrorist group tried to storm" the Republican Guard compound and soldiers retaliated by firing.

The statement said one army officer was killed and 40 soldiers were injured during the incident.

Funerals for many of those killed were to be held amid fears that they could spark renewed violence.

The Muslim Brotherhood said its members were fired on at a sit-in for ousted President Morsi.

Morsi, an Islamist and Egypt's first freely elected leader, was removed from office by the army last week after mass protests.

His supporters accuse the military of staging a coup, but his opponents said the move was the continuation of the revolution that deposed President Mubarak.

The conservative Islamist Al-Nur party, which had backed the army's overthrow of Morsi, in response to the "massacre" said it was pulling out of talks on a new government.

The declaration, which came into effect late Monday night consists of 33 articles. It will be automatically cancelled should an amended version of the suspended constitution is voted for by the public, Ahram online reported.

According to the temporary charter, the president holds legislative authorities along with the cabinet that shall have a mandatory consultative role.

Legislative authority will be transferred to the parliament's lower chamber, the House of Representatives that has yet to be elected.

According to the declaration, the president is also entitled to approve state policy and budget, and also declare a state of emergency after the approval of Cabinet, which is yet to be formed, and in accordance to the law.

The state of emergency, according to the constitutional declaration, can only be implemented for three months and extended for a similar period upon public approval through a national referendum.

Moreover, the constitutional declaration stipulates that the president is to form within 15 days a committee to amend the frozen 2012 constitution. The committee is given a month-long period to wrap up the amendments.

Members of the committee will be chosen by the respective judicial bodies, the constitutional declaration stipulated, while Egypt's Supreme Council of Universities is to assign the constitutional law professors.

The committee tasked with amending the 2012 constitution shall refer the amendments to another committee formed of 50 members, who shall represent all layers of society, the declarations said.

The president is to later put the amended version of the constitution to a national referendum within 30 days from receiving the final draft. It will be effective upon public approval.

The 2012 constitution was suspended as part of the Egyptian armed forces' roadmap for Egypt's future, which saw former president Morsi ousted following mass protests.

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