European Union (EU) High Representative Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday that the biggest challenge facing Egypt is the need to maintain a truce between political factions, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.
The problem is the nature and depth of divisions which threaten Egypt's road to democracy, she further explained. The EU official added that democracy requires a common understanding of the decision-making processes, accompanied by mutual respect for and between all political forces. She expressed the EU's desire to aid Egypt.
Ashton recently met with major players in Egypt, including figures in the interim government, the Tamarod (Rebel) movement which prompted the 30 June protests, the Justice and Freedom Party, and members of civil society to discuss the role the EU could have in monitoring upcoming elections.
In five steps, the EU representative summarised what is required for Egypt to attain democracy.
The first is the need for an inclusive political process to ensure the people's active participation in the country's future.
The second step, explained Ashton, requires a balanced constitution that safeguards the people's rights and establishes civilian rule.
The third step dictates the end of violence which has swept the nation over the past three weeks and led to the death of 12 on Monday. This would necessitate the end of all political feuds and the development of a national dialogue, stressed Ashton.
The fourth point requires the end of arbitrary arrests, which have no place in a democratic society.
The final step, according to Ashton, states that free and fair elections must be held within the next few months.
The EU official expressed her optimism at interim president Adly Mansour's proposed timetable.