Moussa tells SCAF to hand over power by mid-2012

Amr Moussa, an Egyptian presidential hopeful and former general secretary of the Arab League, urged the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Monday to hand over power to a civilian government by the middle of 2012.

Moussa's call, which he made on Twitter, comes amid rising fears among Egyptian activists and political groups that the SCAF seeks to maintain its rule or achieve a power-sharing agreement with major political players.

Since the fall of monarchical rule in 1952, Egypt's presidency has been occupied by military figures, starting with Mohamed Naguib, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and finally Hosni Mubarak, who resigned in February following popular protests after ruling for three decades.

The history has created doubt around the SCAF's seriousness about handing power to civilians. Adding to this doubt are recent appearances by the SCAF's head, Hussein Tantawi, on state-run TV, bringing to mind Mubarak's own appearances.

Following Mubarak's resignation, the military council said it will assume power for six months, during which it will hold parliamentary and presidential elections. But observers believe the SCAF has so far not  made remarkable progress.

The SCAF's performance has provoked criticism by politicians and young revolutionaries who accused it of maintaining Mubarak's oppressive policies and passing legislation unilaterally.

Egypt is expecting parliamentary elections to start on 28 November. The new parliament will convene in April, and presidential elections are expected within the seven months after that.

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