Islamist Wasat Party calls for presidential polls by April

Ahram Online, Sunday 20 Nov 2011

In wake of Saturday's Tahrir Square clashes, moderate Islamist party urges SCAF to hold presidential elections in Egypt within next five months

The moderate-Islamist Wasat Party on Sunday called on Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to delegate executive power to an elected civilian president no later than April of next year.

The military council has thus far declined to set a definitive date for Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential polls, saying only that they would be held once the incoming parliament had finished drafting a new constitution. That process, according to the SCAF’s own timetable, could take up to 12 months.

“The Wasat Party is calling on [SCAF head] Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to call a press conference today to announce that presidential elections will take place on 29 April 2012,” Wasat chief Abul Ela Madi said in a statement on the party’s Facebook page.

“We also call on other parties and political forces to express their views regarding our initiative,” Madi added.

A number of other political figures and parties had already set next April as a deadline for the handover of power to an elected civilian authority, including Islamist presidential contenders Selim El-Awa and Hazem Salah Abou-Ismail.

Pressure has mounted on the SCAF following Saturday’s clashes between protesters and police in Tahrir square, which left at least one dead and hundreds injured.

Another protester was also reportedly killed in Alexandria as protests erupted in several governorates.

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