News Column

Muslim Brotherhood, Liberals Reject Egypt Transition Plan

July 10, 2013

Egypt's main liberal opposition group and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood both angrily rejected the military-backed interim leadership's elections timetable.

The rival groups' rejection came as interim President Adly Mansour named former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hazem al-Beblawi as prime minister and appointed liberal opposition chief and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei as vice president for foreign relations.

The National Salvation Front -- led by ElBaradei until his appointment -- demanded more changes to Mansour's transition plan, presented as a "road map" to amending the Islamist-drafted constitution and holding new parliamentary and presidential elections within six months.

"The National Salvation Front announces its rejection of the constitutional decree," the group said in a statement, explaining it was not consulted on the document vital to Egypt's political transition.

The coalition of more than 35 groups opposed to Mohamed Morsi, ousted as president a week ago, did not elaborate further.

The Brotherhood, pressing for the immediate reinstatement of Morsi, also rejected the Mansour decree.

Senior Brotherhood figure and Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party Vice Chairman Essam el-Erian said the document was "a constitutional decree by a man appointed by putschists," using a word for people behind a coup.

He said on Facebook the road-map decree ignored the "legitimacy" of the Islamist constitution "approved by the people" last year.

Seeking to appease the Islamists, Beblawi promised to offer ministerial posts in the transition government to Brotherhood party and hard-line Islamist Nour Party members, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported.

The offer was immediately rejected by the Freedom and Justice Party, the BBC reported.

Brotherhood officials also said they'd lost contact with about 250 members of their leadership, in addition to the dozens -- including Morsi -- known to be detained.

At the same time, Egypt received financial support from two oil-rich Arab monarchies that expressed fears about the Muslim Brotherhood.

The United Arab Emirates said it would give $1 billion as a gift to Egypt and would offer $2 billion in an interest-free loan. Saudi Arabia said it planned to provide an additional $5 billion -- $3 billion in cash and loans and $2 billion in fuel.

The donations are urgently needed because the turmoil associated with Morsi's overthrow has pushed Egypt's reeling economy closer to collapse, The New York Times said.

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Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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