May 20, 2013
Egypt's army, Islamists discuss president's powers
The Muslim Brotherhood has reached some agreements with the army on the powers of Egypt's first Islamist president and the fate of a now-dissolved Islamist-led parliament, Brotherhood officials said.
The newly elected president, Mohamed Mursi, toured his palace on Monday. But after savoring the outcome of a vote that installed him in place of the Brotherhood's enemy Hosni Mubarak, he immediately went to see the generals in the Defence Ministry in a scene that seemed to underline who really calls the shots.
The Brotherhood, banned under Mubarak, sent its supporters onto the streets last week, promising open-ended protests after the Supreme Constitutional Court ordered the lower house dissolved, saying rules had been broken during its election six months ago.
That decision, backed by the army, threatened to force a new parliamentary election, which erode the bloc won by the Brotherhood and its allies, and undermine one of the biggest gains of the revolt that toppled Mubarak last year.
Islamists and others said this amounted to a military coup. The army compounded these fears by issuing a decree curbing the president's powers just as the presidential election closed.
Mursi was declared the winner on Sunday, a nail-biting week after voting ended. During the wait, the Brotherhood and the army held discreet talks, officials on both sides said.
The new president will be sworn in on Saturday, probably before the Constitutional Court, and the Brotherhood will also stage a symbolic swearing-in ceremony in Tahrir Square, according to Yasser Ali, an aide to Mursi.
Presidents were previously sworn in by parliament, which is now shuttered and under military guard.