'I refused premiership under SCAF,' Moussa says

Ahram Online, Thursday 3 Jan 2013

In interview with Al-Ahram Al-Araby weekly magazine, former presidential contender Amr Moussa says he has wanted to help Egypt, not help the regime

Amr Moussa
Amr Moussa (Photo: Reuters)

Amr Moussa, head of the Conference Party and a leading member of the National Salvation Front (NSF), declined an offer by SCAF (the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) to become prime minister last year, he has said in interview with Al-Ahram Al-Araby weekly magazine.  

The former presidential contender described his relationship with SCAF as "good," though he said he doesn't think they supported him as Egypt's possible new president.

Moussa said he knew SCAF would end the transitional period with democratic presidential elections and called its management of the elections "impeccable," regardless of what else happened amid the emergence of "the second republic."

The former Arab League secretary general also revealed that he called for the formation of the NSF after President Mohamed Morsi announced his constitutional declaration 22 November.

Moussa said that the terms of the declaration raised his concerns, like many Egyptians.

"I was in Qena that day and I called all [political] leaders and asked some of my colleagues to call others. I called for a meeting and the NSF was born that night," he claimed.

Moussa lambasted Islamist forces that criticise him for being once part of Hosni Mubarak's regime, saying they "speak in the name of the [25 January] revolution when they have nothing to do with it."

"The NSF represents all from right to left and its strength lies in the fact that it is not restricted," Moussa said. "However, the Islamist attack on the NSF and describing the opposition as an act of treason is the strangest thing we can hear from a regime that calls itself democratic."

Moussa, who was Egypt's foreign minister for 10 years under ousted president Mubarak, expects the parties of the NSF to have strong presence in Egypt's next parliament.

He rejects and disregards allegations that the NSF plotted to overthrow Morsi before the end of his presidential term. "The real conspiracy is what we heard about a lawyer — I can't remember his name — who accused five or six of the leaders of the NSF of treason," Moussa said.

Lawyer Nasser Asqalani filed a case to the general prosecutor last week against NSF leading members Mohamed ElBaradei, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa, in addition to former prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq and head of the Judges Club Ahmed El-Zend. Asqalani accused them of inciting the Egyptian people to overthrow the ruling regime. He withdrew his case, however. Other lawyers who filed with him did not.

As for criticisms of Moussa's proposal announced last week to help the country overcome its current political crisis, Moussa said that he intended to "help Egypt" not "help the regime."

Moussa had proposed to form a year-long emergency government, delaying parliamentary elections for another six months, stopping all labour strikes and industrial action, the president forming a committee to discuss disputed articles in the new constitution and other proposals.

"The country could fall apart and we should save it even if the price is high," Moussa said.

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