Egypt PM hints at election delay

Egypt`s premier has said that delaying a parliamentary election scheduled for September would give political parties more time to prepare, state media said.

Cairo: Egypt`s premier has said that
delaying a parliamentary election scheduled for September
would give political parties more time to prepare, state media
said on Sunday, amid fears an early poll would benefit Islamists.

"Postponing the election would give the chance for a
larger number of new political parties to develop," the
state-owned Al-Ahram quoted Sharaf as saying.

However, "whatever the time of the election, we will
exert all efforts to make it a success," he said.

Sharaf was answering questions at an event hosted by
tycoon and politician Naguib Sawiris.

His comments come amid a mounting campaign by liberal
and secular groups to delay the election until after a new
constitution has been drafted.

The "Constitution First" campaign has sparked intense
debate, with critics arguing that delaying the poll would keep
the ruling military in place for longer.

In March, 77 percent of Egyptians voted in favour of
holding elections first and having the new parliament draft a
fresh Constitution.

But others have argued that early elections would give
the highly organised Muslim Brotherhood an unfair advantage
and expressed concern that the Islamist group would have too
much influence over the constitution.

Last week, more than 20 human rights groups said
drafting the new charter should be the top priority.

"A new regime must take its place, and its
institutions and the relationships between them must be based
on a new constitution. This constitution must be drafted
first, rather than building the institutions of the new order
in accordance with the constitutional rules of the old
regime," the groups said in a statement.

PTI

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