A host of roadmaps: Opposition, Islamists & Army propose ways out of Egypt crisis

Mary Mourad , Tuesday 2 Jul 2013

Opposition coalitions, Islamist alliances and Egypt's armed forces – among others – all offer 'roadmaps' aimed at ending country's precarious political standoff

Egyptian reform leader Mohammed El Baradei, center, speaks during a press conference following the meeting of the National Salvation Front, as former Egyptian presidential candidate, Hamdeen Sabahi, left, and former Egyptian Foreign Minister and presidential candidate, Amr Moussa, right, listen in Cairo (Photo: AP)

A number of roadmaps and initiatives were proposed over the last few days as a way out of the current crisis in Egypt, several of which came following massive opposition protests on Sunday and an ultimatum by the military that sparked celebration among anti-Morsi protestors and anger among the president's supporters.

All opposition roadmaps propose early presidential elections and temporary state management through the head of Egypt's High Constitutional Court and a technocrat cabinet, with none of these leaders to run for the presidency.

REBEL … the spark

The call for 30 June rallies started with the Tamarod ('Rebel') campaign, which since May has been collecting signatures from Egyptians nationwide requesting that Morsi step down.

The campaign claims to have collected over 22 million signatures, as per the campaign's latest update on 29 June, which significantly outnumbers the 13 million voters who cast ballots for Morsi in presidential elections one year ago.  

The call for the formation of the '30 June Front,' included, together with the Rebel campaign, most of the organised non-Islamist political forces who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood. It includes activists and the National Salvation Front (NSF) opposition umbrella group.

The roadmap they proposed includes the following points:

  • Delegating presidential power to the head of Egypt's High Constitutional Court
  • Appointing an independent prime minister to take over (on condition of not running for president)
  • Appointing a technocrat government
  • Dissolving the Shura Council
  • Presidential elections in six months

Organised opposition

The main opposition coalition, formed in November 2012 to oppose the constitutional declaration made by President Morsi ahead of the completion of the constitution, announced its endorsement of Rebel's roadmap and joined the 30 June Front.

The Strong Egypt Party, formed by ex-Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, on the eve of 30 June called for a number of measures to get out of the crisis, announcing that it would join the protests to complete the revolution's demands.

The roadmap proposed contains the following points:

  • Calling for early presidential elections
  • Forming an unbiased legal committee for constitutional amendments
  • Embarking on procedures for transitional justice
  • Appointing a technocratic, independent cabinet
  • Amending the parliamentary elections law
  • Conducting parliamentary elections as soon as the law is ready

The April 6 Youth Movement also proposed its own roadmap with the following steps:

  • Suspending the constitution
  • Dissolving the Shura Council
  • Transferring power to the head of the High Constitutional Court
  • Forming a committee of 20 top constitution experts to propose amendments to the constitution and put them to a referendum
  • Holding presidential elections within three months
  • Appointing a non-partisan technocratic cabinet
  • Forming a 'Council for Revolution Protection,' including all political forces, to take the lead until elections are held
  • Holding parliamentary elections within six months to one year

Other organised groups, such as the Revolutionary Socialists, have published statements with roadmaps that didn't deviate too far from the above-mentioned demands.

Islamist proposal

The Salafist Watan Party spearheaded a national reconciliation initiative a few days before 30 June. Nine political parties, mostly Islamists, along with some twelve Islamist-leaning movements, have thrown their weight behind the initiative. These include the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's Building and Development Party.

The roadmap for this initiative outlined the following measures:

  • Forming a national unity government
  • Forming a popular committee for transparency of elections
  • Forming a body for constitutional amendments

Last-minute calls

The Salafist Nour Party and the Salafist Call were the last to make a proposal for a way forward in a Monday statement. Originally refusing to join the protests and preferring to stay neutral, they changed course after the anti-Morsi protests on Sunday and Monday. They issued proposals calling for:

  • Early presidential elections
  • An unbiased technocrat cabinet

The army's ultimatum

The statement by the army on Monday came only one day after mass protests on 30 June and gave political forces 48 hours to comply with the opposition's demands or it would propose a roadmap out of the crisis. It stressed that it did not aim to play a political role, but would rather support the will of the people.

However, Article 153 of the recently-passed constitution dictates that if the president is no longer in office, the head of the parliament's lower house should take over.

If the lower house is dissolved, however, then the head of the upper house (the Shura Council) is to take over and a new president will be elected within a maximum 90 days from the day the president's office becomes vacant. The transitional leader cannot run for office, however, nor request any amendment to the constitution or cabinet changes.

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