Presidential hopefuls demand military council step down by March

Six Egyptian presidential hopefuls have agreed to pressure the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to step down in March 2012 at the latest, and hand power to a civil administration.

The six political figures agreed on the deadline during a meeting on Monday to establish an agreed stance on the latest political developments, according to Al-Dostor news website on Tuesday.

The website quoted unnamed sources as saying the presidential hopefuls agreed to present a new memorandum to the military council, demanding that it relinquish power by March, and that the new constitution to be drafted following the presidential elections.

According to the website, presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei did not attend the meeting, which lasted for nearly four hours and was the seventh such meeting of would-be presidents. Particpants included Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, Mohamed Selim al-Awa, Hamdeen Sabbahi, Hesham el-Bastawisi, Hazem Abu Ismail and Amr Moussa.

One source said the six candidates declared their rejection of the agreement reached between SCAF Vice President Sami Annan and the representatives of a number of political parties during a meeting on Saturday, arguing that the statement signed by the parties did not meet the post-revolution aspirations of the Egyptian people.

They added that it included a number of promises that have been floating around since March, when the Constitutional Declaration was issued, and that none of these promises have been implemented, including the revival of the Treachery Law and the drafting of a Political Isolation Law.

The source added that the candidates all agreed that the transitional period should not be prolonged. They demanded the elections timetable be shortened in order to achieve the national aspiration of a peaceful transition of power to an elected civilian administration by March.

The source went on to say that the six candidates are considering escalating matters until their demands are realized. They also declared that the Emergency Law expired on 30 September, based on the Article 59 of the Constitutional Declaration issued in March, and so could no longer be applied by the military council or other authorities.

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