Egypt to dissolve parliament, hold elections

Sunday, February 13, 2011

CAIRO - The Egyptian armed forces announced Sunday that both the upper and lower houses of parliament will be dissolved and that new elections will be held within six months.

The Higher Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces also said in a statement read out on state television that a new committee would be formed to amend the constitution, but stopped short of saying who would appoint it.

The council, which took power after the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak Friday, said it will continue to oversee the country until new elections are held.

There was no mention of abolishing a controversial emergency law, in place nearly 30 years, which protesters are demanding the army remove to make way for the release of political prisoners.

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, in his first press conference since Mubarak’s resignation, had said earlier Sunday that he is “not in a hurry” to fill vacant ministerial posts.

“We don’t want to give this subject more than it deserves, but we will not appoint a minister unless there is full confidence in the nomination,” Shafiq said.

His comments came as several thousand protesters continued to demonstrate in Tahrir Square, calling for the cabinet to be sacked amid allegations of corruption and a lack of accountability.

The cabinet was to hold its first meeting following Mubarak’s departure Sunday.

The armed forces have left the cabinet he appointed last month in place - with the exception of Minister of Information Anas al-Fiqi, who has been placed under house arrest.

Shafiq also said that the government would make lowering food prices a priority, as millions of Egyptians currently rely on government subsidies to survive.

Sunday also saw life slowly returning to normal in the capital Cairo, as the country marked the beginning of its work week.

Just two days earlier, more than one million people had gathered in Tahrir, or Liberation, Square to celebrate Mubarak’s resignation, which followed 18 days of massive protests across the country.

Filed under: Politics

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