Egypt's military rulers study plan to speed up vote

Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:45pm EST
 

By Marwa Awad

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's military rulers are studying a proposal from their own advisers to bring forward parliamentary elections by two weeks after demands from protesters and politicians to speed up transition to civilian rule, an advisory council member said Sunday.

Many Egyptians believe the army is no longer fit to manage security on the ground and carry out difficult reforms at a time of political and economic crisis.

Friday, thousands rallied in Cairo and other cities to demand the army give up power and to vent anger after 17 people were killed in recent protests where troops beat and clubbed women and men even as they lay on the ground.

Voting for the upper house, or Shura Assembly, is due to be held in three rounds beginning on January 29 and ending on March 5. It follows a similarly protracted vote for the lower house that began in November and is due to end in mid-January.

"The military council has agreed to study the option of shortening the election time for the Shura by two weeks, to end on February 22," Sherif Zahran, a member of a council advising the military on the transition to civilian rule told Reuters.

Zahran said the judiciary had agreed to the idea of squeezing Shura elections into two stages instead of three and that a plan to shorten the vote tallying process was being studied also.

"This would allow for both the (lower house of) parliament and Shura to convene in a joint meeting by the end of February," Zahran told Reuters.

Once parliament convenes, Egypt will draw up a constitution and a presidential vote is planned before the end of June.   Continued...