Moussa: Proposed presidential council 'step back' from democracy

Ahram Online, Sunday 3 Jun 2012

Ex-Arab League chief says proposal to form un-elected 'presidential council' would represent a retreat from Egypt's democratic ambitions

Eliminated presidential candidate Amr Moussa on Sunday said that the idea of establishing an unelected presidential council – as has been called for by certain political groups – would represent a "step backwards" in Egypt's post-revolution democratic transition.

Moussa added that the idea of forming such a council, which has been proposed intermittently since last year's Tahrir Square uprising, had been "rejected" by the people. He added that the current presidential electoral process should be seen through to completion, since the true will of the Egyptian people could only be determined at the ballot box.

Moussa, a former Arab League chief and Mubarak-era foreign minister, announced his intention to run for the presidency only days after the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak early last year. Moussa was eliminated from the presidential race in the first round of voting last week, however, in which he only came in at a surprising fifth place.

As it now stands, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi will face off against Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister, in a hotly-contested runoff vote on 16 and 17 June.

Tens of thousands of protesters converged on Cairo's Tahrir Square and in other Egyptian cities on Saturday after a criminal court slapped Mubarak and his long-time interior minister Habib El-Adly with life sentences for taking part in the murder of unarmed anti-regime protesters during last year's uprising. Six of El-Adly's aides, however, were acquitted of the same charges.

The Tahrir Square rally has since turned into an open-ended sit-in, while proposals to form an interim presidential council have been floated by eliminated candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh and Khaled Ali as an alternative route to the transfer of power from military to civilian rule.

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