Egypt Independent

Possibility of late presidential elections sets political circles abuzz

News reports on Sunday that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) may postpone the presidential elections until mid-2012 have set political circles in Egypt abuzz. Presidential elections were expected to take place by the end of 2011.

A number of party leaders called for a speedy constitutional declaration, including articles that would consolidate democratic practices during the coming period. Wafd Party Deputy Chairman Fouad Badrawi said the delay in the declaration is indicative of the existence of opposing points of view and that the declaration must include the amended articles as well as a number of other articles concerned with facilitating governance of the country during the transition period.

Badrawi, whose party would like to see the presidential elections held prior to the parliamentary elections, asked why there was a rush to amend the constitutional articles and to hold the referendum if the presidential elections are to be postponed until 2012.

Sameh Ashour, Deputy Chair of the Nasseri Party, said that the constitutional declaration has not been made given that the amendments revived the 1971 Constitution. Ashour said he hoped the declaration would include an article that would bring about a speedy change to the entire Constitution.

Meanwhile, National Democratic Party (NDP) leader Mohamed Shetta supported the delayed constitutional declaration as well as the postponed presidential elections.

Meanwhile, Hussein Abdel-Razek, a member of Tagammu's central committee and the head of its political section, said the constitutional declaration should include the postponement of the parliamentary elections for another year to allow opposition parties the time needed to prepare themselves for the coming electoral battle against the Muslim Brotherhood and remnants of the NDP.

As for Wasat Party Deputy Chairman Essam Sultan, he said the new constitutional declaration must include all of the articles in the 1971 Constitution concerned with public rights and freedoms, which support the principles of the revolution.

Nabil Rashwan of the National Front Party said the declaration must include an article ensuring the limitation of the president’s authorities, so as to send a clear message from the SCAF to the Egyptian people that it will guide Egypt to a new era.

In related news, a source told Al-Masry al-Youm that SCAF was considering the formation of a committee that would be responsible for preparing a general vision for a new constitution, in preparation for writing it and submitting it to a referendum in the coming period prior to the upcoming parliamentary elections slated for September.

Meanwhile, political analyst Amr al-Shobaki said the community is convinced that the parliamentary and presidential elections cannot be based on a distorted constitution. He went on to say that the new constitution must represent all Egyptians, including Muslims, Christians, Leftists and Liberals. Al-Shobaki said that he was against the military remaining in power until next year.

Translated from the Arabic Edition