Egypt's political forces and Brotherhood unite to counter military evasion of power handover

Salma Shukrallah, Friday 22 Jun 2012

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood announces its concessions to revolutionary movements in order to form a front against recent actions by Egypt's ruling military to hold onto power

Press conference
Mohamed Morsi speaking at a press conference on Friday declaring a national front to counter military reluctance to handover power (Photo:Reuters)

A unity front has been formed, announces several prominent political figures and activists together with the Muslim Brotherhood in a press conference on Friday. Several revolutionary political figures declared on Friday they will unite with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in order to counterbalance what they see as a threat to the handover of power to a civilian authority.

The Muslim Brotherhood, in return, will make concessions to non-Islamist political factions guaranteeing them representation in both the government and in the drafting of the constitution. Politically, up until recently it seemed that the Muslim Brotherhood was winner-take-all.

Revolutionary figures had already been actively working to push for an immediate transition to civilian rule. The Muslim Brotherhood - seeing itself being pushed out of power by the military and the High Constitutional Court that ruled against the Brotherhood-dominated parliament and that the Brotherhood are in danger of losing the extremely tight presidential runoffs - are now taking bolder steps to unite with revolutionary forces.

Also, the addendum to the Constitutional Declaration announced by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), granting it immunity, making it the sole authority over the military and giving it the right to interfere in the drafting of Egypt's new constitution, was described by many as a "military coup."

At the press conference, the Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi announced the Brotherhood and political figures have agreed to unite, basing their unity on general goals that guarantee Egypt a democratic, civil and modern state.

Morsi also promised a team of presidential deputies that may include women, Copts and the youth. He added that the majority of the coming government will not be from the Brotherhood and that the prime minister will be a non-aligned political figure.

The press conference followed meetings held on Thursday in which several political figures proposed compromises the Brotherhood would need to cede in order for them to align with them.

According to Ahmed Imam, one of the activists who attended the meetings, eight demands were proposed to Morsi, including:

1-      Releasing all political prisoners immediately upon Morsi's election as president

2-      Cancelling the judicial law allowing the military to arrest civilians

3-      Guaranteeing that the constituent assembly tasked with drafting Egypt's new constitution will be equally representative of non-Islamists so that it reflects a national consensus. This may be done by rejecting the military junta's addendum to the Constitutional Declaration, which makes the SCAF the body allowed to reform the constituent assembly. Another way is to maintain the current assembly, but replacing several of the Islamist figures and using the assembly's right to expand the assembly by ten more members, who can then also be chosen from the civil parties.  

4-      Giving political organisations and movements legal recognition

5-      Reshuffling the governors in consultation with the political movements

6-      Forming a cabinet that is representative of all the political factions and in which the Brotherhood do not have a majority and in which the prime minister is not an Islamist

7-      Adopting a plan to purge major institutions of ex-regime members

                   8-      Forming a group to manage the current crisis period to be composed of several of those who have attended the discussions

At the press conference, prominent nationalist figure Hamdi Qandeel emphasised that considering Egypt's critical stage, everyone present decided to overcome the differences and forgive past errors in order to unite against attempts made by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to avoid handing over power.

They also reject the law from the justice ministry that allows the military to arrest civilians, the dissolution of parliament, the addendum to the Constitutional Declaration, delaying the presidential results and any possible attempts to rig the elections.

Wael Ghoneim, founder of the We are all Khaled Said Facebook group, which was one of the triggers of Egypt's January 25 Revolution, also added that this front should not be considered support for the Brotherhood, but rather for legitimacy and democracy versus Mubarak's regime and its military.  

Imam also confirmed to Ahram Online that Morsi, former presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh and a Hamdeen Sabbahi representative agreed on Thursday to possibly form part of the presidential team.

ElBaradei, however, did not want to be part of the presidential team and proposed to act as a mediator between the "crisis managing" group that will be formed by the newly created front and the SCAF.

Key political figures amongst those seen in attendance at the Friday press conference included Wael Qandeel, Ahmed Maher of the April 6th Movement and Islam Lotfy of the Egyptian Current Party.

Short link: