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Egypt to hold presidential polls first: Interim president

President Adly Mansour announces change to transitional roadmap that will see presidential polls held before parliamentary elections

Ahram Online, Sunday 26 Jan 2014
Adly Mansour
Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour (Photo: AP)
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Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour has announced that presidential elections will be held before parliamentary polls -- an amendment to the transitional roadmap.

"I have carried out several dialogues with political groups, which saw a majority in favour of holding presidential elections first," said Mansour in a televised speech on Sunday, adding that he would be asking the Supreme Electoral Committee (SEC) to open the door for candidates in accordance with Article 230 of the newly approved national charter.

Mansour added that he would oversee the necessary amendments to the political rights and presidential election laws.

The post-Morsi roadmap stated that after a new constitution was approved, it was to be followed by parliamentary then presidential elections.

However, according to the new national charter it is up to Mansour to decide which election comes first, but the second poll must be staged within six months of the constitution's ratification.

Detainees

Mansour said he had urged the prosecutor-general to look into the status of those being detained pending investigation, university students in particular.

After investigations have been finalised, those proven to be innocent will be released, Mansour added.

During a meeting with Mansour last Wednesday, youth activists complained about revolutionaries being defamed and arbitrarily arrested.

Mansour denied any systematic police violence. He also requested a list of those allegedly arrested randomly without charge.

Protests on university campuses have been taking place since the beginning of the academic year in September, but have increased since the beginning of the exam period in December.

Students opposed to the interim authorities and in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi have launched demonstrations and called for an exam boycott.

Clashes have led to many deaths. Hundreds of students have been arrested inside and outside campuses in addition to the thousands of people arrested in a broad crackdown on the Brotherhood and its sympathisers.

Terrorism

Mansour's speech came after a string of terrorist attacks in the lead up to the revolution's third anniversary on Saturday.

On Friday, four explosions struck police institutions and checkpoints in Greater Cairo, killing six and injuring at least 80.

"We're determined, both the people and the state, to root out terrorism," he said, adding that extraordinary measures would be taken if needed.

The nation overcame terrorism in the '90s and we will do so again, he vowed.

Mansour said he had requested more judicial chambers be made available for investigations into terrorism-related crimes.

"We will not be merciful or sympathetic [with culprits]. They have abandoned the nation, deviated from true religion and any divine or human principles," he concluded.

Members of several Islamist groups were convicted of terrorism offences during the 1980s and 90s, including Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, currently a leading member of the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy.

At the time, security forces came down hard on Islamist groups, which eventually abandoned violence in the late '90s.

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