Clinton: U.S. Expects Egypt Military to Fully Carry Out Democratic Transition

Secretary of State says there is no going back on transfer of power to democratically-elected civilian government; Muslim Brotherhood candidate says he respects an Egypt court ruling that declared the recent parliamentary election unconstitutional.

Reuters
Reuters
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Reuters
Reuters

The United States expects Egypt's military authorities to fully transfer power to a democratically elected civilian government, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.

"There can be no going back on the democratic transition called for by the Egyptian people," Clinton told reporters, declining specific comment on an Egyptian court ruling to dissolve the country's newly-elected Islamist-led parliament.

On Thursday, Egypt's Constitutional Court ruled that the whole of the lower house of Egypt's parliament will be dissolved and a new election will have to be held, saying that the law upon which the recent elections were held is contrary to the rules of Egypt's constitution.

The court also gave Ahmed Shafik, Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, a green light to continue his bid for Egypt’s presidency, when it ruled against a law that would have thrown him out of the race.

A presidential run-off vote between Shafik and the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsy takes place on Saturday and Sunday.

Morsy said Thursday that he respected the court ruling that declared as unconstitutional the rules under which Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament was elected.

Mohamed Morsy said in a television interview that he also respected the Supreme Constitutional Court's decision to allow his rival in the presidential election, former prime minister Ahmed Shafik, to stay in the race - though he said the ruling was "unsatisfactory".

"The ruling must be respected," Morsy told the privately-owned Dream TV in reference to the ruling on parliament, an assembly in which the Brotherhood has the biggest bloc.

"This ruling does not dissolve parliament," he added, saying that it only applied to a third of the members of the assembly.

However, the head of the constitutional court had earlier told Reuters that the ruling would mean parliament would be dissolved and new elections held.

Shafik welcomed court rulings that void a parliamentary vote and allow him to contest the country's leadership, saying an "era of political score settling" was over.

Outside the court by the Nile, protesters threw rocks at hundreds of troops and state security conscripts who were guarding the building, which was sealed off by rolls of barbed wire. Some of the security forces began unloading dozens of boxes of tear gas canisters.

The court threw out a law passed by the Islamist-dominated parliament in April that denied political rights to anyone who held a senior post in government or ruling party in the last decade of Mubarak's rule.

The legal wrangling adds to the suspense around an election that is supposed to seal a transition to democracy after Mubarak was toppled in an Arab Spring uprising last year, but has laid bare deep divisions over how Egypt should be governed.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Istanbul, June 7, 2012.Credit: AFP

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