Monday,23 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1153, 20 - 26 June 2013
Monday,23 October, 2017
Issue 1153, 20 - 26 June 2013

Ahram Weekly

Transitional plans

What will happen if President Mohamed Morsi does resign in response to mass protests on 30 June? Mohamed Abdel-Baky explores possible scenarios

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Opposition groups have been meeting to hammer out a joint strategy should 30 June anti-government protests succeed in forcing early presidential elections. The results of the ongoing negotiations are scheduled to be announced at a press conference next week attended by leaders of the National Salvation Front (NSF) and representatives from a wide range of opposition groups.

NSF leaders Hamdeen Sabahi and Mohamed Al-Baradei met late Saturday with leaders of youth movements, including the Tamarod campaign which is behind calls for 30 June anti-government protests.

Leaks suggest the opposition is mulling several options, among them a transition period of six months during which the chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) would serve as acting president and a coalition cabinet be formed from representatives of national political movements. The six months would be used to prepare a new constitution on which a referendum could be held followed by presidential and parliamentary elections.

“The powers of the transitional president will be limited to representing Egypt internally and externally. The coalition government will devote its energies to halting economic deterioration and improving internal security. The National Council for Defence will be responsible for foreign policy and national security,” says Mahmoud Badr, co-founder of the Tamarod petition campaign. 

The Alliance of Revolutionary Forces has floated the idea of a transitional council taking over for six months. It would include the chairman of the SCC and the minister of defence alongside three civilian figures, one of them drawn from an Islamist group.

“Options have been discussed in a meeting with the Tamarod campaign. The final version of opposition proposals will be announced between 22 and 24 June in a conference which will be attended by all opposition forces,” said Ahmed Al-Boraai, deputy chairman of the Dostour Party.

Al-Boraai underlined that the opposition has decided not to enter into any agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood. It is too late to do so now, he said, even if the president finally agrees to implement NSF demands which include dismissing the prosecutor-general, redrafting contentious constitutional articles and forming a coalition government.

Opposition leaders have also discussed fielding a single candidate should an early presidential poll be called.

“The opposition has learned its lesson and plans to have only one candidate to represent it this time round,” Al-Baradei said on Sunday during a brief visit to the sit-in being held by dozens of Egyptian artists and intellectuals at the minister of culture’s office in Zamalek.

“President Morsi needs to acknowledge his failure to rule and submit his resignation. A new democratic system and constitution must be built,” added Al-Baradei, who also made it clear he harboured no presidential ambitions, ruling himself out of any future race. 

The grassroots anti-Morsi petition drive launched in May on Facebook has been endorsed by most opposition parties and figures. Campaigners accuse Morsi’s administration of failing to implement policies to improve the life of ordinary people. The campaign called for mass protests on 30 June to demand early presidential poll.

The Muslim Brotherhood, along with other Islamist groups, has condemned the campaign as an attempt to “infringe on the popular will”.

Islamist parties have announced their own “million-man demonstration” in front of Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City next Friday. Muslim Brotherhood supporters have also organised a counter-petition to collect signatures from Egyptians who support Morsi remaining as president.

“The Islamists are engaged in a concerted effort to intimidate people from taking to the streets on 30 June,” says Tamarod spokesperson Mai Wahba. She stressed that anti-government protesters were committed to peaceful demonstration.

Tamarod has held a series of meetings with youth movements and opposition parties to discuss ways to secure the demonstrations, Badr told the Weekly. Tens of thousands of young volunteers will serve as guards to prevent violence and damage to public or private property. Cameras will be installed on streets that lead to the palace to monitor any illegal activities and Tamarod has made clear it will denounce any violence on the part of demonstrators and push that anyone responsible for violent acts be prosecuted. It has asked for the cooperation of Ultra football fans and Black Bloc activists in ensuring the protests remain peaceful.

Tamarod activists say the main protest will be in front of Al-Ittihadiya presidential palace where a million red and yellow cards will be raised urging the president to leave. The main demonstrations are scheduled to start at 5pm in both Cairo and the provinces.

“We know millions of Egyptians who are anti-Morsi and oppose the Muslim Brotherhood do not normally participate in protests. We urge these people to stage their own protests, to stand in front of their buildings and hold red cards to the president,” says Wahba.

 

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