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EU calls for Egypt transition to be respected

Spokeswoman for EU foreign police chief says although presidential elections are a major step, the legal and institutional situation is still of concern

AFP, Monday 18 Jun 2012
Maja Kocijancic
EU spokesperson Maja Kocijancic (Photo:Reuters)
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The European Union welcomed Egypt's presidential election as a "major step" on Monday but called for the democratic transition to be respected as the military gave itself new powers.

As Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi claimed victory after the weekend election, an EU spokeswoman said early reports confirmed that the vote took place in a "peaceful and orderly manner."

"The presidential elections are a major step in Egypt's democratic transition," said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The ruling military pledged on Monday to hand power to the election's winner by June 30, with full presidential powers, after taking steps denounced by activists as a coup.

As Egyptians focused on the election, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces introduced de facto martial law, gave itself control of the legislature and state budget and granted itself veto power on a new constitution to be written by a panel it will pick.

"Questions have recently emerged about the status of parliament and the constitutional process which could constrain the progress made so far," Kocijancic said.

"The legal and institutional situation is of concern and must be clarified as soon as possible in a spirit and environment of transparency and consensus," she said.

"One thing is clear, the democratic transition must not be put in question."

She added: "The transition must respect the Egyptian people's aspirations and demands for dignity, democracy and freedom."

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