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EGYPT: Revolution Youth coalition calls for more transition time before elections

March 1, 2011 |  8:44 am


Members of the Coalition of the Jan. 25 Revolution Youth have voiced concern over plans by Egypt's ruling Supreme Military Council to hold parliamentary and presidential elections within the next six months.

Young activists believe that after 30 years of autocratic rule under former President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt needs a longer transitional phase to a mature political climate, where newly formed parties have a fair chance to compete. 

"If we have early elections, it will probably mean just the Muslim Brotherhood and former NDP members getting into power," Shady Ghazali Harb, a representative of the Democratic Front party in the coalition, said at a news conference Monday.

The conference was held one day after coalition envoys met with three generals from the military council, where they were told that the army, which is running the country, is planning parliamentary elections in June, followed by a presidential poll in August.

Coalition members suggested prolonging the transitional period to 12 months while allowing a presidential council consisting of two civilians and a military figure to run the country. The coalition is also strongly lobbying for ouster of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik's government and the formation of a new technocrat Cabinet, which will aid the recommended presidential council with its tasks.

"We stressed that Shafik has to resign now to make people quiet. People will be quiet if he goes," said Islam Lutfi, a member of both the Coalition of Revolution Youth and the Muslim Brotherhood Youth.

Thousands of protesters rallied in Tahrir Square on Friday, calling for the removal of Shafik and his Cabinet. The Revolution Youth already have called for further protests, with the same aim, Friday.

The coalition's suggestion echoes that of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and possible presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei, who previously stated that the current political scene in Egypt was not paved for swift elections.

The Coalition for the Revolution Youth includes representatives of no fewer than six political groups.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Khaled El Sayd, a member of the Jan. 25 Revolution Youth coalition. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times