Egypt PM dispute stalls government, Islamists call more protests

CAIRO Sat Jul 6, 2013 7:58pm EDT

1 of 7. Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour (R) meets with opposition leader and former U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo in this handout picture dated July 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Egyptian Presidency/Handout

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's political transition after President Mohamed Mursi was ousted by the military stumbled at the first hurdle, after the choice of liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister was thrown into doubt by Islamist objections.

ElBaradei's nomination had been confirmed by several sources and state media on Saturday, but just before midnight a presidential spokesman told reporters that the prime minister had not in fact been chosen.

The abrupt U-turn came amid opposition to the appointment by the Nour Party, Egypt's second Islamist force after Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood movement, highlighting the challenge the military faces in finding consensus among liberals and conservatives on who should run the country.

Clashes between tens of thousands of pro- and anti-Mursi protesters swept the Arab world's most populous nation on Friday and at least 35 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded.

The violence, which saw rival factions fighting street battles in central Cairo and many others cities and towns, underlined the pressing need for a swift political solution seen as inclusive to all.

"We extend our hand to everyone, everyone is a part of this nation," the spokesman told reporters. "The Muslim Brotherhood has plenty of opportunities to run for all elections including the coming presidential elections or the ones to follow."

Minutes after he spoke, state media reported that the public prosecutor ordered that four top Brotherhood leaders held this week be detained for a further 15 days on accusations that they incited violence against protesters.

The four included Saad el-Katatni, head of the group's political wing, and Khairat El-Shater, its political strategist.

ISLAMIST SUPPORT CRUCIAL

The Brotherhood has said it wants nothing to do with the military's plans for a new interim government. It believes Mursi should be reinstated, and has pledged to keep protesting until he is.

The Nour Party, however, had agreed to the army-backed transition plan leading to new elections. Its withdrawal from the process would strip that plan of vital Islamist support.

And following the Nour rejection, the interim administration headed by Adli Mansour delayed naming the new prime minister.

On Sunday, people were still reeling from one of the bloodiest days in over two years of tumultuous upheaval since autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who ruled for 30 years, was toppled in a popular uprising that was part of the 2011 "Arab Spring".

The Brotherhood called for another day of protest on Sunday, meaning that relative calm on Saturday may prove to be only a temporary lull.

Huge protests were staged on June 30 to pressure Mursi into resigning amid growing anger at economic stagnation and the perception among many that the Brotherhood was seeking to take control of every part of the state - a charge it fiercely denies.

Millions took to the streets to cheer his ouster on Wednesday, but for many Islamists it was a bitter reversal that raised fears of a return to the suppression they endured for decades under autocratic rulers.

The military said it had not carried out a coup, but merely enforced the will of the people.

ALARM OVERSEAS

The events of the last week have raised alarm among Egypt's allies in the West, including main aid donors the United States and the European Union, and in Israel, with which Egypt has had a U.S.-backed peace treaty since 1979.

On Saturday, President Barack Obama condemned the violence, and said the United States was not working with any particular party or group in Egypt.

Washington has not condemned the military takeover or called it a coup, prompting suspicion within the Brotherhood that it tacitly supports the overthrow of the country's first freely elected president.

Obama has ordered a review to determine whether annual U.S. assistance of $1.5 billion, most which goes to the Egyptian military, should be cut off as required by law if a country's military ousts a democratically elected leader.

Egypt can ill afford to lose foreign aid. The country appears headed for a looming funding crunch unless it can quickly access money from overseas. The local currency has lost 11 percent of its value since late last year.

Newspapers on Saturday quoted ElBaradei as saying he expected Gulf Arab monarchies that were hostile to the Brotherhood's rule to offer financial support to the new authorities.

Only gas-rich Qatar provided substantial funds to Mursi's government, totaling $7 billion in loans and grants. Turkey and Libya also provided smaller loans and deposits.

(Additional reporting by Mike Collett-White, Maggie Fick, Sarah McFarlane, Tom Perry, Paul Taylor, Patrick Werr in Cairo and Steve Holland in Washington; Writing by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Comments (49)
nevinekamal wrote:
Islamist are spreading violence in all over Egypt . Ther are terrorists . What happened in Egypt is not a coup , the army is supporting Egyptian people will to get rid of Muslim brotherhood and Mohamed Morsi . I am one of 33 millions people who say no to Mohamed Morsi & his failure to manage our country .

Jul 06, 2013 3:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Reuters1945 wrote:
“Islamist protests hit cities across Egypt, at least 24 dead”

As always, there has been an abundance of comments reflecting both interesting and/or well defended viewpoints and opinions regarding the recent and continuing dramatic events in Egypt.

It should be borne in mind at all times that life is never as simple as we might wish it to be.

It is always a futile effort to attempt to reduce such situations down to Black and White, and consisting of totally “good” guys and totally “bad” guys.

Any time one makes that mistake, he/she opens the door for someone with an opposing view to make a strong counter argument.

The comments published so far inspired me to reread the key Historical Documents that pertain to the United States of America.

These included the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution which I had not revisited for several decades.

I had almost forgotten just how amazing were the texts of these documents, so painstakingly crafted and signed by all the Founding Fathers of America.

I was even inspired to order facsimile reproductions on Parchment.
http://store.ushistory.org/

There is such an abundance of genuine true Wisdom reflected in these two hundred year old Documents including what Rights a people possess to throw off the yoke of what they perceive to be any form/s of Tyranny or usurpation of all reasonable Human Rights to live freely and happily.

To those who say the answer and the solution to the many urgent and real grievances of millions of Egyptians was to be found in the Ballot box I would respond as follows.

Sometimes in life we must react and respond to situations in a timely fashion and not insist on adhering to strictly pre-ordained guidelines, even when set down in something so sacred as a nation’s Constitution.

What the people of Egypt got when they voted for Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood did not turn out to be even roughly what they had expected.

One might go as far as to claim, and not without good cause, that what the American people got when they voted for Obama and the Democratic Party has turned out to be something quite different from what was expected.

All the talk about “Hope” and “Change” and a new level of honesty, accountability and “Transparency” in government and the Rule of Law, turned out to be so much hot air and “more of the same old/same old”.

In fact, as things turned out, either Mr. Obama knew all along he did not intend to deliver on what he promised.

Or even more worrisome, Mr. Obama did honestly intend to deliver on promises made but as it turned out, there are forces behind the scenes in America which are far stronger than even the President of the United States, who call the “shots” and make the big decisions and not the duly elected American President.

Either way America is saddled with some seriously bad times ahead which will continue for the next three years. Not that I have any great hopes, and/or illusions at this point in time, that the next Presidential election will offer up any viable alternative solutions for reasons too obvious to require explanation.

That said, the situation facing the Egyptian people was becoming so drastically serious and negative on every possible level that the idea of waiting to find some solution at the Ballot box three years down the road, was fast becoming a “non starter”.

Indeed, the growing unemployment, increasing sectarian violence and nation wide discontent and growing economic nightmares were all on such a gargantuan level that what the world just witnessed was literally a foregone conclusion.

It may well be that there was no other more sane solution to the mounting crisis after millions had expressed their feelings, but for the Military to intercede to prevent Egypt from becoming another Syria with one hundred thousand dead and counting.

It is of course the greatest of ironies that the Egyptian military, which may well have kept a lid on total chaos, is American supported, while not far away, in Syria, the US is working with and arming well known terrorists, even barbaric cannibals, to topple a government and destroy its Military forces. Go figure that one out !

Thus, the US would replace a clearly not very nice government with something a good deal worse. One need only observe who are the partners in the Gulf, in this US goal of Syrian “Regime change” to fully understand just how twisted and sick the entire situation appears to be.

The Middle East is the great game board on which the world powers play out their never ending schemes and dastardly machinations whilst millions of innocent people suffer and die. The ordinary people, just trying to survive from one day to the next, are the real Pawns in this grand nightmare Chess game.

In some ways one might see echoes of the French Revolution in what has just come to pass in Egypt. Alas, we all know how quickly that Revolution descended into the Reign of Terror and “Madame Guillotine”.

For the moment, it is both childish, and in fact rather naïve, to see the recent events in Egypt as a “Coups”. Given all the possible ramifications of a nation about to burst apart at the seams, the intervention of the Army was likely the most sensible, logical and indeed only viable solution if far greater tragedy and mass bloodshed was to be avoided, at least in the immediate future.

Of course the very idea of “People Power” in most Western nations, is fast becoming a “virtual” (pun intended) impossibility, considering what we have learned from a man presently calling the Russian airport his home.

One may like him or not but there is much to be learned from what he has revealed about our present world and who really pulls the strings of power. And it is less and less the person who votes at the Ballot box.

I wish all the best for the people of Egypt.

Jul 06, 2013 3:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Marwaelsaify wrote:
what happens in Egypt is not “Military Coup” ?!!

support the Egyptian people

There are millions of Egyptians in all cities revolt to say “go out Mursi”

Jul 06, 2013 7:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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