Egypt’s military fears early elections will bring new dictator

A member of Egypt's governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces expressed fears that presidential elections could create a new dictator if held prior to parliamentary elections.

General Mamdouh Shahin, assistant minister of defense for constitutional and judicial affairs, said in a statement on Egyptian television on Saturday that holding presidential elections first would make the new president responsible for all tasks.

Shahin pointed out that the new president would form the state’s institutions, and could thus become “a new dictator.”

Even if the proposed amendments to it are passed in the upcoming referendum on March 19, the Egyptian Constitution will still grant extensive powers to the president.

Legal organizations and opposition figures have demanded that presidential elections come before parliamentary elections. They argue that parliamentary elections first would result in the most organized political groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the formerly-ruling National Democratic Party, winning at the expense of the political forces which led the 25 January uprising.

Shahin, however, said that parliamentary elections could be held in September, with presidential elections before the end of the year.

He said as the 1971 Constitution has been rendered null and void, the amendments subject to referendum will form a temporary constitution until a new one is prepared under the next president.

Shahin said he supports voting “Yes” in the referendum, as current circumstances are not conducive to preparing a completely new constitution, for the armed forces are busy with other tasks.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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