likely to call presidential poll first: sources
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[December 30, 2013]
By Asma Alsharif and Yasmine Saleh
CAIRO (Reuters) — Egypt's government will
likely call a presidential election ahead of parliamentary polls, two
officials said on Monday, rearranging the political timetable in a way
that could see army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi elected head of state by
Parliamentary elections were supposed to happen first under the
roadmap unveiled after the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed
Mursi in July.
But some secular-leaning political figures and other critics have
campaigned for a change, saying the country needs an elected leader
to direct government at a time of economic and political crisis and
to forge a political alliance before a potentially divisive
Political figures supportive of the change have lobbied interim head
of state Adly Mansour during four recent meetings, said officials
familiar with what was discussed.
"The forces that attended the four meetings agreed, with a large
percentage, to have the presidential elections first and that means
that most likely the presidential elections will be first," said one
of the officials.
An army official added: "Presidential elections are most likely to
be held first, as it seems to be the demand of most parties so far."
Sisi is widely seen as the leading candidate for the presidency,
though he has yet to announce his candidacy.
The army chief is reviled by his Islamist opponents as the man
behind what they describe as a coup against Egypt's first freely
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Since Mursi's removal, the government has cracked down hard on
Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, which won five elections after the
downfall of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The government last week intensified pressure on the movement by
declaring it a terrorist group, widening the scope for the
The government decision followed a suicide attack on a police
station that killed 16 people. The Brotherhood condemned the
bombing, responsibility for which was claimed by a radical Islamist
group called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.
(Writing by Tom Perry; editing by Patrick Graham)
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