Former PM calls for accelerating power transfer to civilians

Former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf called for accelerating the power transfer to a civilian government by holding presidential elections, saying this step is "imperative."

A quick power transfer “is desired by both the people and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), as it has expressed several times,” Sharaf posted on his Facebook page.

He also said that holding presidential elections earlier than planned is legal. "I would say to those who consider this illegal that accelerating the transition is in Egypt's best interest, and the law should achieve people’s interests and protect their rights."

“Despite my deep grief over the martyrs and the injured, I’m optimistic about the future and I trust the Egyptian people,” he added.

Legal expert and secretary general of the advisory council Mohamed Nour Farahat also called on the SCAF to quickly transfer power.

Farahat said the priorities of the interim period must be reconsidered and presidential elections must be held sooner than June 2012.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the SCAF, vowed in a speech to the nation on 22 November to hand over power to a civilian government after holding presidential elections in June.

Protesters staged demonstrations in November demanding an immediate transfer of power to a civil presidential council and the end of military rule. Observers and presidential hopefuls criticized the SCAF for mismanagement of the interim period.

Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University, blamed the current crisis on a series of missteps made by the SCAF that inhibited the development of institutions that would be capable of taking over from the military council.

Since the end of monarchical rule in 1952, the the president has always been a member of the military. This history adds to fears that the SCAF has no intention of surrendering power to a civilian government.

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