Egypt’s military rejects swift transfer of power and suspends constitution

Sunday, February 13, 2011
By Paul Martin

Ruling military council intends to retain power for six months or longer while elections are scheduled and will rule by decree

Chris McGreal
Guardian.co.uk
Sunday 13 February 2011

The Egyptian military has rejected the demands of pro-democracy protesters for a swift transfer of power to a civilian administration, saying it intends to rule by martial law until elections are held.

The army’s announcement, which included the suspending of the constitution, was a further rebuff to some pro-democracy activists after troops were sent to clear demonstrators from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the centre of the protests that brought down Hosni Mubarak. “We do not want any protesters to sit in the square after today,” said the head of the military police, Mohamed Ibrahim Moustafa Ali. Many agreed to leave but a hardcore refused, saying they would remain until the army took a series of steps toward democratic reform including installing a civilian-led government and abolishing the repressive state of emergency.

The ruling military council said it intends to retain power for six months or longer while elections are scheduled and will rule by decree. It suspended the constitution and said a committee will draw up amendments that will be put to a referendum. It also dissolved the widely discredited parliament, elected in a tainted ballot last year.

In a sign that the army will only tolerate a limited challenge to its power, it is expected to issue a communique on Monday saying that it will crack down on those creating “chaos and disorder” as well as effectively banning strikes.

The moves were welcomed by some opposition figures including Ayman Nour, who was jailed after challenging Mubarak for the presidency in 2005. “It is a victory for the revolution,” he told Reuters.

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