A group of public figures and political groups are working on an initiative aimed at forcing Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to hand over executive power during the transitional period to the newly-elected parliament.
“The SCAF, which began its tenure by saluting the revolution’s martyrs, has trampled on the dignity of Egyptians by beating and injuring them in the streets,” prominent writer Yasser El-Zayat said at a press conference organised by political groups to announce the initiative – held at the headquarters of independent daily Al-Shorouk – on Sunday.
Political groups that support the initiative include the Social Popular Alliance Party; the Wa’i (“Awareness”) Party; the April 6 youth movement; the Popular Movement for the Independence of Al-Azhar; the Justice and Freedom youth movement; the Free Front for Peaceful Change; the Participation Movement; and the Maspero Protesters Movement; among others.
The initiative, which calls for the immediate handover of power to Egypt’s first post-Mubarak parliament, was launched following what supporters describe as the SCAF’s failure to manage the transitional period and as a reaction to recent violations by security forces, including the beating, torture and killing of protesters. The campaign also criticises the ruling junta for its failure to meet longstanding revolutionary demands.
Parliament, which will convene two days before the anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, is Egypt’s first parliament to have been elected by the people. Accordingly, the initiative calls for the incoming assembly to manage the nation’s affairs until a president is elected in June.
“We are not concerned with the ideologies of political parties in parliament as long as they are willing to meet the demands of the revolution,” Gihan Shaaban, member of the Social Popular Alliance Party, said at the press conference.
Supporters of the initiative stressed the importance of handing over power immediately – not after drafting a new constitution or conducting scheduled presidential elections.
“The SCAF might design the constitution according to its own agenda or push the presidential candidate who favours its interests,” Shadi Ghazli Harb, founder of the Wa’i Party said at the conference. “The will of the people is the sole tool in the hands of this initiative. It is expected that both the SCAF and parliamentarians will reject it.”
“Many people in the street inside and outside Cairo expect this to take place automatically after parliament commences its activity,” said Shaaban, stressing that her party would continue to pressure both SCAF and parliament to meet their demand.
Political movements say they will follow the new parliament’s decisions blow by blow. They will begin by holding several protests tomorrow, during the assembly’s opening session, to stress their ongoing revolutionary demands.
Bearing the slogan, “Hand over power to the elected parliament on January 25,” activists have called for several marches to converge on parliamentarians’ homes on Sunday. There they will demand parliamentarians’ support for calls for the SCAF to transfer power on 25 January to the recently elected parliament as Egypt’s sole legitimate civilian body.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, which swept the parliamentary polls along with the Salafist Nour Party – along with a handful of liberal parties – have rejected the initiative.
The SCAF has repeatedly promised to hand over power to an elected civilian authority in July of this year following presidential elections.