Egypt to vote on new parliament by February

rtr2wpy5.siEgypt is to vote on a new parliament in six months, after amendments to the constitution are approved in a referendum. This is outlined in interim leader Adly Mansour’s new decree.

The decree has allowed a four-and-a-half month period for any amendments to the former constitution, which was suspended after the overthrow of the country’s former president, Mohammed Morsi, amid mass protests.

A presidential election will be held after the new legislative chamber’s first meeting. The text of Mansour’s decree states that a panel for the review of the new constitution must be formed within 15 days.

In the run-up to parliamentary elections, the document also gives the interim president powers to issue new laws after consulting with the new government, which is to be formed soon.

Certain controversial Islamist-influenced articles of the previous constitution have been left in the decree. They have to do with the principles of the Sharia law. This has already aroused criticism from Egypt’s liberal and Christian populations.

The developments took place as investigations got underway into violent clashes between the country’s armed forces and the supporters of the former Islamist president earlier in the day. The violence took place outside the Republican Guard headquarters in the Nasr City district of Cairo, claiming at least 51 lives and injuring more than 430 people, according to the Ministry of Health.

How the clashes started exactly remains a topic of dispute, with eyewitnesses saying that they were fired on and the army insisting they were provoked. Adly Mansour has expressed grief at the deaths and has called for calm and restraint.

A variety of weapons, including gun ammo and Molotov cocktails, were discovered at the scene, near the Republican Guard headquarters in the Nasr City district of Cairo.

Military spokesman Ahmed Aly said that “a colleague is in Maadi hospital undergoing a four-hour surgery; he was shot with live ammunition to the head, which caused his skull to fracture,” said Aly, who stressed the officer’s injury proves that there was firing from building rooftops.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has condemned the reported killing of over 50 anti-Morsi protesters in Cairo, urging both sides to “do everything to avoid further escalation” of violence which has intensified since the former president’s ouster.

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