Egypt's Military Moves to Dissolve Parliament, Suspend Constitution

Statement by Egypt's Armed Forces Supreme Council comes as protesters refuse to evacuate main Cairo square, saying they want to ensure the country's transition to democracy.

Egypt's higher military council said on Sunday it will suspend the constitution, dissolve parliament, and form a committee to draft a new constitution for the country.

Egypt protest - AP - 13/2/2011

The statement by Egypt's Armed Forces Supreme Council came as thousands of protesters returned to Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday, defying a request by the country's ruling military to disperse in the wake of President Hosni Mubarak's ouster over the weekend.

Renewed demonstrations resulted in the desire of many Egyptians to ensure that the military would continue the country's transition toward full democracy.

The high command has given no timetable for transition but tried to reassure with a statement on Saturday, underlining a commitment to democracy and international treaties, aimed particularly at Israel with whom it has a peace treaty.

However, in a statement released on Saturday, Egypt's ruling military indicated that it intended to suspend the county's constitution, as well as dissolve its parliament, en route to redrafting the country's constitution by a specially appointed panel.

The army also said that Egypt's Armed Forces Supreme Council would remain in power for 6 months or until after free elections are held.

In the first response to the army's declaration, Egyptian opposition figure Ayman Nour expressed his satisfaction with the move, saying the statement represented a "victory for the revolution."

In another development concerning the country's transition toward democracy, Egypt's prime minister said on Sunday that the military would determine the role of Omar Suleiman, who was appointed vice president by Mubarak.

"The role of Omar Suleiman will be defined by the Higher Military Council," Ahmed Shafiq said.

Suleiman's position has been in doubt since Mubarak resigned on Friday, handing power to the armed forces.

Earlier Saturday, soldiers and protesters reportedly clashed at the epicenter of Egypt's 18-day long demonstrations, with some protesters saying soldiers had detained their leaders as well as more than 30 people who were taken to an army holding area around the Egyptian Museum.

The army had no immediate comment.

The crowd chanted "peacefully, peacefully" to the troops whose mission on the first day of Egypt's working week was to let commuters through to work in an economy badly damaged by the uprising that ended Mubarak's draconian rule.

Tanks and armored cars were positioned around the square where banners still hung demanding regime change and where people crowded around a makeshift memorial for the roughly 300 people killed in the revolt. Volunteers could be seen clearing rubble.