CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt’s ruling military council remains committed to holding parliamentary elections in September, despite mounting calls for a delay, a military source told AFP on Monday.
“The military council insists on what it has already announced regarding (holding) elections at the end of September, in accordance with the result of a referendum” held in March, the source said.
The military council was responding to statements by Vice President Yehia al-Gamal, who told a satellite channel on Sunday that the army had agreed to postpone the polls to December.
In March, Egyptians voted 77 percent in favour of constitutional amendments which confirmed the army’s proposed timetable for parliamentary elections ahead of the drafting of a new constitution.
The latest statement comes amid mounting calls for a delay, with secular activists arguing that an autumn election would play into the hands of the highly organised and well established Muslim Brotherhood.
Some activists fear that holding elections first would also give the Islamist group too much influence in drafting the constitution.
US Senator John McCain, who met the country’s military rulers during a visit to Cairo on Sunday, said the army wanted to hand over power to an elected government “as soon as possible.”
Power was transferred to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces by former president Hosni Mubarak upon his ouster on February 11 after mass protests against his 30-year rule.
The military council has repeatedly pledged to restore power to a civilian government after legislative elections in September and a presidential vote to be held in November.