Egypt's ruling military is still 'married' to the people: SCAF official

Ahram Online, Sunday 27 Nov 2011

Amidst massive protests in Egypt against what is regarded as farcical elections on Monday and replace the ruling military junta with a salvation government, the legal assist. to the defence minister argues to keep the status quo

Mamdouh Shaheen
the Assistant Minister of Defence Mamdouh Shaheen

In the face of massive protests across Egyptian cities pressing to topple rule by Egypt’s military junta and put in place a "salvation government," a top minister of defence official insists that the military council enjoys full legitimacy among the people, likening the relationship to a “fully-fledged marriage.”

Although the revolutionaries, by asking the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to step down and allow the people to appoint a salvation government headed by ElBaradei, would in effect cancel tomorrow’s 28 November parliamentary elections, Mamdouh Shaheen, legal assistant to the defence minister, argued on El Hayat Channel as if the elections will take place, regardless.

Shaheen relied on a constitutional decree announced in March 2011 by the SCAF to try to block the calls for the national salvation cabinet.

Shaheen emphasises that the decree stipulates that the upcoming parliament cannot dissolve the current interim government or choose members of a new government. According to the decree, only the president has the authority to form a new government because Egypt has a presidential-parliamentary system, not just a parliamentary system.

“The new parliament cannot dissolve the government. This is not right. The Party that wins the most seats does not have the right to form a new government.”

Shaheen also stressed that former prime minister Essam Sharaf, whose resignation was accepted Wednesday, had been delegated full presidential powers by military ruler Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi.

He also argued that Mubarak’s dismantled National Democratic Party was not the only political force involved in rigging elections, but that others did, as well.

He confirmed that the elections will go ahead on Monday and that the military council has no plans to postpone it despite the mass protests that are shaking the nation.

The polling stations will be secured by the armed forces and ministry of interior forces, he revealed (not mentioning the police).

The legal assistant to the defence minister also denied that the military junta’s recent decision to extend the time period to vote from one day to two days was as a result of a request by the Muslim Brotherhood.

He insisted that the council is not biased towards any of the country’s political factions.

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