07/05/2011, 00.00
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Egypt’s military considering postponing September elections by three months

For the spokesman of the Egyptian Catholic Church, a delay would give all parties a better opportunity to organise and would limit the great power of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups. The army is still unable to run the country following Mubarak’s fall.
Cairo (AsiaNews) – The first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections could be delayed by three months to give new parties more time to organise, said Retired General Ahmed Wahdan, a former member of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Although no decision has been officially made, the report comes after pro-democracy groups organised anti-military demonstrations in Tahrir Square, calling on the military to be more open about the country’s future at a time of rising Christian-Muslim confrontation and louder demands of justice for those who were killed during the Jasmine Revolution.

If the delay is implemented, this would be a good thing for liberal parties, said Fr Rafik Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church.

Such parties would be better able to face the Justice and Freedom Party (Muslim Brotherhood) and the National Democratic Party (former President Mubarak’s party), the only parties that are already organised for an election campaign.

Red tape and organisational delays would have made it highly unlikely for secular parties to run in the upcoming September elections, the clergyman said.

Poor security in rural areas is another major problem, with great risk for vote rigging in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood and other organised Islamic groups that can exert great pressure on local authorities and communities.

For Fr Greiche, the military are incapable of running the country. Without a clear and detailed agenda, even three months of delay might prove insufficient to guarantee free and fair elections. (S.C.)
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