Presidential hopeful warns of coup if Islamists hegemonize power

Presidential hopeful Hesham al-Bastawisi has warned of a potential military coup if Islamists “continue to attempt to exclusively dominate power by seizing Parliament, the government and the presidency.”

In an interview with satellite channel Al-Hurra on Sunday, Bastawisi said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in power since February 2011, may choose any of several courses of action, the worst of which would be a military coup.

A coup would receive the support of the people, he said.

Bastawisi said the people’s trust in Islamists is eroding, particularly because they have so far failed to address ordinary people’s day-to-day problems.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and Salafis recently won about two-thirds of parliamentary seats in the first election since the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak last year.

Bastawisi said Islamists do not have a strategic vision for dealing with certain dossiers, for Egypt’s role in the Arab region, its relationship with Iran, or how it can defend its water rights.

He accused Islamists of trying to dominate the constituent assembly through electing half the assembly’s members from Parliament. The job of Parliament is to monitor the government and perhaps form it, but not to draft the constitution, he said.

He ruled out the possibility of Islamists agreeing on one candidate for the presidency, adding that all Islamist candidates are under the impression that they have strong chances of winning.

Commenting on the recent foreign-funded NGOs crisis, Bastawisi said the government’s crackdown on NGOs at this particular time is meant to undermine their ability to monitor the forthcoming presidential elections. He said the presidential poll is likely to be rigged, given what he described as the absence of credible guarantees for its integrity.

Bastawisi said democracy and development in the Arab region are in the interests of the US and the EU, which want to curb immigration from the southern shores of the Mediterranean and find markets for their products.

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