Egypt’s Military Rulers to Form New Government

Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Egypt's military rulers have agreed to form a new government and promised to transfer power to a civilian body by July 2012.

The head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Mohamed Tantawi, announced the decision in his televised speech late Tuesday after a crisis meeting with various political groups. He said he had accepted the resignation of the civilian Cabinet of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, but that it will remain in place until a new government is formed.

Military rulers said they were prepared to organize a referendum on an immediate power transfer, if necessary. They also promised to begin staggered parliamentary elections as planned on November 28 and to hold presidential elections before July 2012.

Tens of thousands of protesters who massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square expressed displeasure with Tantawi's announcement, saying they want to see military rule end immediately. Some called for his resignation.

Clashes between police and demonstrators angry at Tantawi's speech erupted in several other cities, including the northern port city of Alexandria. Al-Jazeera TV showed armored vehicles firing what appeared to be tear gas at a large crowd that had gathered in the city center.

Egypt's Health Ministry says at least 29 people have died and hundreds more have been wounded nationwide during the latest unrest.

In an apparent concession to demonstrators, the military council earlier issued a law that bans anyone convicted of corruption from running for office or holding a government position. The move could restrict members of Mr. Mubarak's former ruling party from competing in the upcoming elections.

Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Egypt's rulers of brutality sometimes exceeding that of Mr. Mubarak.