Egypt steadily moving toward democracy, says Tantawi

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,  said on Tuesday that Egypt is steadily moving on the path of democratic transition after the revolution has passed its first year.

In a speech delivered on his behalf by Communications and Information Technology Minister Mohamed Abdel Kader Salem to the Connect Arab Summit in the Qatari capital of Doha on Tuesday, Tantawi said, “We now have a freely elected legislative institution.”

“Work is underway for the formation of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution that stems from three pillars: freedom, dignity and social justice,” he added.

“Candidacy applications for the presidential election will be accepted in a few days.”

“Egypt’s young generation began a revolution using information technology, which confirms the peaceful nature of the Egyptians,” he said.

“Despite the current difficult economic conditions, the telecommunications and information technology sector remained sound, thanks to the growth it had achieved as a locomotive of development in Egypt in the last decade,” he said.

The SCAF, which took power in February 2011 after President Hosni Mubarak was deposed, has been sharply criticized for mismanaging the transitional stage, repressing the opposition and making decisions without consulting the various political forces in a manner reminiscent of the former regime.

The military council had pledged to hand over power to civilians within six months of the initial takeover, but then postponed the handover to 30 June 2012. Some are skeptical that military junta will actually relinquish power by this date.

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