As the death toll from a confrontation between the Egyptian army and pro-Morsi protesters at the army’s elite Republican Guards Club keeps rising to over 42 demonstrators and soldiers, the Muslim Brotherhood, finding itself politically isolated by the loss of public support, called for a mass uprising across the nation in an attempt to turn the public opinion against the army. While the occurrence of such an outcome remains highly unlikely given the widespread public dissatisfaction with Muslim Brotherhood’s year in office, the strategy has already yielded some results in the form of fracturing the fragile coalition of political forces that backed the military’s ouster of President Morsi. The Salafi Nour Party, an ultraconservative Islamist group, with widespread street level support has already announced its withdrawal from the political process and offered an alternative roadmap to that one sponsored by the army. Also, the Strong Egypt Party headed by Abdel Moneim Abou El Fetouh, a Muslim Brotherhood breakaway, also suspended its support for the political process. Investors reacted to escalating political tensions by heading to the exit sending the EGX 30, an index of leading Egyptian stocks, down by 3.55% at the close of trading.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed interim president Adli Mansour issued a constitutional declaration setting a roadmap to political transition. The 33 article constitutional declaration gave the president legislative authority along with the yet to be formed cabinet, which shall have a consultative role in the transitional period. Legislative authority will be transferred to the parliament’s lower house when elections are held. The president has 15 days to form a committee consisting of mainly representatives of judicial bodies and constitutional scholars to draft within 30 days amendments to the now suspended constitution of 2012. Another committee consisting of 50 members of societal groups representing all layers of society including political parties, intellectuals, workers, farmers syndicates, national councils, Al Azhar, Egyptian churches, armed forces, police and 10 drawn up from the ranks of youth and women has 60 days to deliberate on the amendments. Upon receiving the final version of the constitutional amendments, the interim president has 60 days to put it up for popular referendum. Upon the approval of the constitutional amendments, the president will have to call for parliamentary elections within 15 days to be held within a 60 day period. After a week from lower house of parliament convening, presidential elections are to be called within a maximum period of eight months.
In tandem with the issuance of the political roadmap, the interim President Adli Mansour took the first steps towards assuming his new role. He launched a parallel process of national reconciliation calling on all political forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, to participate in the political process through dialogue away from violence and street demonstrations. He also formed an independent committee to investigate the clashes at the Republican Guards Club.
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