SCAF expected to announce 'advisory council' imminently

Ahram Online, Thursday 1 Dec 2011

Names floated for possible council membership include Amr Moussa, El-Sayed El-Badawy, Galal Amin, Hossam Eissa, Selim El-Awa, Nour Farahat and Aboul-Ela Madi, among others

Tahrir Square
Tahrir Square (Photo: AP)
In an effort to meet the demands of the revolutionary forces still arrayed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) is expected to soon announce the formation of an “advisory council” to assist the SCAF in administering the current transitional phase until a new president can be elected. 
The proposed council would consist of 30 members representing all political orientations – with eight representing revolutionary youth – who would facilitate communication between the people, the SCAF and the government. 
The council is meant to serve as a “buffer zone” between the SCAF and the public to avoid any misunderstandings or violent escalations, like those that erupted in downtown Cairo from 19 to 23 November that left at least 40 protesters dead. The council will also “advise” the SCAF, counselling it on any proposed new laws or regulations.
At a four-hour meeting with Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Sami Anan, politicians and heads of political parties and movements discussed the functions and membership of the proposed council. The meeting was widely criticized by many quarters, while many political figures declined to attend, including would-be presidential contenders Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and Hamdeen Sabbahi.
"Those who met with the military only represent themselves; they are only providing the SCAF with a fig leaf to help it absorb popular anger," said Revolution Youth Coalition member Khaled Tellima. "Our demands are clear: we don't want advisors for the military rulers, we simply want the military rulers to go." 
Lawyers Syndicate Chairman Sameh Ashour said that council members had not been appointed at the meeting with Anan, but that rules regarding membership had been discussed. Presidential hopeful and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who also attended the meeting, said that Field-Marshal Hussein Tantawy was expected to announce details of the proposed advisory council within days. 
Among the names proposed for council membership are Abdel Aziz Hegazy, Amr Moussa, El-Sayed El-Badawy, Galal Amin, Hossam Eissa, Selim El-Awa, Nour Farahat, Ahmed Kamal Aboul Magd, Mansour Hassan, El-Moataz Bellah Abdel Fattah, and Aboul-Ela Madi. 
Legal expert Tahani El-Gabaly and journalist Labib El-Sebaai have both reportedly declined offers to join the council. Mamdouh Hamza, political activist and prominent architect, for his part, announced via twitter that he had turned down an offered appointment because "the SCAF insists on looking backwards instead of forward as it should in a revolution.”
Zakaria Abdel Aziz, former president of the Cairo Judges' Club, for his part, has denied reports that he too had been invited to join the council. Calling in to a popular television talk show on Wednesday, Abdel Aziz said the proposed council would be more “symbolic” than practical, as had been the case with most Mubarak-era “consultative committees.” 
Protesters have been staging an open-ended sit-in in Tahrir Square since police violently cleared the square on 19 November. They demand the formation of a “national salvation” government to administer Egypt’s current transitional phase in the place of military rule.  


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