February 4, 2012 / 5:56 PM / 7 years ago

Egypt council wants earlier presidential vote

CAIRO (Reuters) - A civilian council appointed to advise Egypt’s military rulers said on Saturday preparations for a presidential election should begin on February 23, a step that would bring forward the presidential election from an expected June date.

The recommendation from the advisory body was a response to a week of violence that has heaped new criticism on the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces which assumed power from Hosni Mubarak a year ago.

The advisory council said formal nominations for the presidency should be accepted starting February 23, nearly two months sooner than the April 15 date previously announced by authorities.

The recommendation was made in a memo which the council members said had been sent to the ruling generals. Three members of the council said the recommendation could result in a presidential election as soon as April, while a fourth said it would bring the election forward to May.

“The advisory council will consider halting its meetings if the military council does not respond,” Sherif Zahran, a member of the body, told Reuters, reading from a statement prepared during the meeting.

Mona Makram Ebeid, another member of the body, told Reuters: “In view of the seriousness of the events, the carnage that has happened, we cannot be silent, we cannot wait.”

The army-led government has faced criticism this week over its failure to prevent a soccer stadium disaster in which 74 people were killed. The incident has triggered protests in which another 12 people have died.

Reporting by Marwa Awad and Tom Perry; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Sophie Hares

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