Egypt military rejects calls for reinstating Parliament
Cairo: Egypt`s ruling military council on Friday rebuffed calls for reinstating the Parliament dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and blamed the Islamists for raising tensions by releasing incorrect presidential election results.
The military`s terse statement came as thousands of protesters gathered at the iconic Tahrir Square here to denounce what they see as a power grab by interim rulers by stripping the next leader of much of his authority.
Protesters rallied to support the Muslim Brotherhood`s candidate for president, Mohammed Morsi and to call on officials to release the delayed results of last week`s runoff.
"Announcing the results of the presidential election early before the official statement is unjustified and is one of the main reasons behind the division and confusion prevailing on the political scene," the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said in a statement.
SCAF also defended its recent decisions to grant the generals sweeping powers, saying these were necessary for running the country.
The council said its constitutional declaration was a necessity in order for the military to run the country`s affairs during "this critical period."
The SCAF said it respects peaceful protests as long as it doesn`t conflict with the interests of the country, Al Ahram newspaper reported.
"The Army and the Police will combat any attacks on Egypt`s public or private institutions," it said.
The military council also stressed its objectivity and neutrality towards all political forces.
Egypt`s election commission has postponed the results, which were due to be released yesterday, because it says it needs time to investigate fraud allegations by both candidates.
Muslim Brotherhood officials have warned of a confrontation between the people and the ruling military if Morsi is not named the winner.
Both Morsi and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq are claiming victory, and supporters of both men have threatened a backlash if their candidate lost the election.
Egypt`s official MENA news agency said that the election commission could announce the elections results on Saturday or Sunday.
In the past week, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces carried out a series of moves aimed at solidifying its power, including the court-ordered dissolution of the Islamist-dominated Parliament.
The council, which has promised to hand over power to civilians by June 1, also declared an interim Constitution that gives its generals and the courts final say over much domestic and foreign policy, as well as the process to create a new permanent Constitution.
Egyptians had voted in three phases in December and January to elect the 498 members of the Parliament after former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year in a mass uprising.
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