Jul 10, 2013

    Egypt seeks to end crisis with early polls

    EGYPT'S interim rulers issued a earlier-than-expected timetable for elections yesterday, in an attempt to drag the country out of crisis, a day after 51 people were killed when troops fired on a crowd supporting ousted president Mohamed Mursi.

    Mr Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood movement called for more protests yesterday, raising the risk of further violence.

    Under pressure to restore democracy quickly, Mr Adli Mansour, the judge named interim head of state by the army when it brought down Mr Mursi last week, decreed that a parliamentary vote would be held in about six months. That would be followed by a presidential election.

    In an important, positive signal for the transitional authorities, the ultra-orthodox Islamist Nour Party said that it would accept former finance minister Samir Radwan as prime minister, potentially paving the way for an interim Cabinet.

    The stakes were raised dramatically by the bloodshed on Monday, the worst since Mr Mursi was toppled by the military. The army opened fire outside Cairo's Republican Guard barracks, where the deposed leader is believed to be held.

    The bloodshed has also raised alarm among key donors such as the United States and European Union.

    Officials said troops fired in response to an attack by armed assailants. The protesters disputed that account, insisting that they were conducting peaceful dawn prayers.