ElBaradei: Parliament should monitor military budget, activities

The budget of Egypt's armed forces should be monitored by the people through a representative parliament, presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei said Thursday evening on a talk show on the Egyptian CBC television channel.

ElBaradei pointed out in his interview that in most countries in the world, the military publicly discloses its budget and a representative legislature oversees its economic activities. He noted that transparency exceptions could be made if national security were concerned.

Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) member Major General Mokhtar al-Mulla told reporters and foreign agencies on Wednesday that the budget of the armed forces will remain autonomous from parliamentary oversight.

ElBaradei also said he will soon submit to new Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri a 10-point plan to strengthen the Egyptian economy, which he has worked on for months with the help of young people.

ElBaradei called on all political forces, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, to cooperate with each other, stressing that "the differences between political forces are very few." He suggested they all sit down together before parliamentary elections are finished to agree on the contours of the new Egyptian state and constitution.

"We live now in a legal illusion; there is no constitutional legitimacy, and the legitimacy of the revolution is not even recognized," he added.

The idea for a civilian advisory council is evidence of this confusion, ElBaradei said, referring to the SCAF's plan to create a 50-member body to consult on and approve the new constitution once it is drafted. What is needed now is a national unity government including everyone: liberals, Muslim Brotherhood members and Salafis, he continued.

The SCAF should have stepped back from power and given more experienced people an opportunity to prevent Egypt from deteriorating, but unfortunately this never happened, ElBaradei said.

Commenting on some recent statements by Salafis suggesting that democracy is tantamount to heresy, ElBaradei said, "The Islamic movements have to announce clearly that these statements do not represent their goals."

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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