Egypt looks forward to new elections

The Muslim Brotherhood party has rejected all cooperation with the interim government.

Supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi flash the sign of victory atop a wall during a rally outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard in Cairo on 9 July 2013. Picture: AFP

CAIRO - Egypt's interim authorities will start work on forming a cabinet on Wednesday, a week after Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the army, leading to violence in which at least 90 people were killed.

Tuesday saw progress when interim head of state Adly Mansour named liberal economist Hazem el-Beblawi as acting prime minister and former UN diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei as deputy President responsible for foreign affairs.

But underlining the scale of the task ahead, ElBaradei's National Salvation Front, Egypt's main liberal coalition, itself rejected the constitutional decree and demanded changes be made.

Less surprisingly, the Brotherhood, which has rejected all cooperation with the military-backed interim powers, also dismissed the decree, while the ultra-conservative Nour Party, which initially backed the road map, said it was not satisfied.

On the other side of the political divide, the Tamarud youth movement which mobilised millions to take to the streets against Morsi, said the decree had not been run past them, and they would propose amendments.

The United States gave a cautious welcome to the road map to quick elections on Tuesday.

"We are encouraged the interim government has laid out a plan for the path forward," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a daily briefing in Washington.

She said the Obama administration had been in touch with representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood but that there had been no contact with Morsi since his arrest.


Thousands of Islamists rallied outside a mosque in northeast Cairo on Tuesday night refusing to budge until toppled Morsi is returned to power.

Just a few hundred metres away, outside the military barracks where he is believed to be held, 55 Morsi supporters were killed at dawn on Monday when troops opened fire.

The movement says the victims were praying in peace, while the government says the Islamists provoked the violence by attacking the soldiers.

The authorities announced an investigation into 650 suspects for offences from "thuggery" to murder and terrorism.

Egyptian state media praised the army and denounced Monday's violence as the work of terrorists.

Amnesty International said that whether or not the security forces acted in response to provocations, they were guilty of using "grossly disproportionate force".


Egyptians are still reeling a week after Morsi's overthrow, which initially sparked wild celebrations in Cairo and beyond by millions of people who wanted him gone.

To Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, however, his removal amounted to the reversal of democracy by entrenched interests who would never accept their election victories.

The Brotherhood denies it had an aggressive Islamist agenda.

Fearing a return to the suppression endured for decades under autocratic rulers, members of the long-banned movement took to the streets.

On Friday, pro- and anti-Morsi protesters clashed in running street battles that swept the country. Some 35 people were killed.

Monday's bloodshed raised alarm among key donors such as the United States and the European Union, as well as in Israel, with which Egypt has had a US-backed peace treaty since 1979.

Wealthy Gulf Arab states, long suspicious of the Muslim Brotherhood, stepped in swiftly with financial support that could relieve pressure on the transitional authorities at a time of economic stagnation.

The United Arab Emirates offered a grant of $1 billion and a loan of $2 billion. Saudi Arabia offered $3 billion in cash and loans, and an additional $2 billion worth of fuel.