x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Egypt's interim president sets election timetable

Adly Al Mansour issues a decree setting a timetable for a referendum on an amended constitution and then for parliamentary elections by early February.

CAIRO // Egypt's interim leader vowed fresh elections by early next year after 51 people, mostly supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, were killed outside Cairo military barracks on Monday.

Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has led demonstrations against Wednesday's military overthrow of the Islamist leader, called for an "uprising," saying troops and police "massacred" its supporters during dawn prayers in Cairo on Monday.

Amid the widening chasm in the restive country, interim president Adly Al Mansour issued a decree setting a timetable for a referendum on an amended constitution and then for parliamentary elections.

The whole process will take no more than 210 days, according to the decree, meaning elections by early February at the latest. Mr Mansour will announce the date for presidential elections after the new parliament convenes, according to a draft of the 33-article decree published by the official Mena news agency.

The carnage outside the elite Republican Guards' headquarters has further delayed Mr Mansour's efforts to name a new prime minister, as the loose opposition coalition that backed Mr Morsi's removal lost a key Islamist party.

According to Mr Mansour's decree, a panel representing political, religious and security services will agree final amendments to the constitution suspended on Mr Morsi's removal from office and put it to referendum within five months.

Parliamentary elections would be completed in less than three months after the constitution is ratified.

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official denounced the decree. "A constitutional decree by a man appointed by putchists... brings the country back to square one," said Essam El Erian in a Facebook posting.