By Heba Fahmy
CAIRO: Communiqué 59 is a rebuttal of accusations that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, analyst Nabil Abdel Fattah, a researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Daily News Egypt.
“The army’s decision not to protect the protests in Tahrir on Friday sent a clear message to other political powers,” Abdel Fattah claimed, “In addition to the army’s cooperation with the Brotherhood to launch a campaign to intimidate people and prevent them from protesting.”
However, Rashad Bayoumi, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, denied the accusations saying that “we have always been the center of attacks ever since the reign of the former regime, despite the fact that our members were being detained everyday.”
“We are used to these attacks,” he told DNE. “However, the people know who we are and [what we represent].”
The MB and other Islamist groups as well as Al-Wafd Party boycotted a massive demonstration on May 27 in Tahrir Square dubbed the “Second Friday of Anger” which witnessed the participation of tens of thousands of Egyptians of various political affiliations.
In a statement earlier, the MB had discouraged citizens from joining the protest in order to avoid rifts between the people and the SCAF.
In its 59th statement, the army stressed that it treated all political powers equally without any favoritism. It also denied excluding any specific power to the benefit of others.
The SCAF called on national powers to set their differences aside, unite their efforts and have faith that the people will have the final say in the country’s political reform through the ballot boxes.
In its latest statement, the SCAF invited the different youth coalitions for dialogue on Wednesday at the Galaa Theater in Heliopolis. The statement stipulated that each coalition send 10 representatives given that the theater can only hold 1,000 people.
Division of power
Abdel Fattah said that political powers in Egypt are now divided between the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis (ultra-conservative Muslims) on one side and the youth who ignited the January 25 Revolution on the other.
“We should have a national coalition that represents all the people of Egypt to protect the revolution and establish a parliament that represents the people,” said Karima El-Hifnawy, senior member of the Kefaya Movement and the National Association for Change.
“Unfortunately some political powers and figures put their personal interests first and want to achieve swift personal gains,” she said.
Abdel Rahman Samir, member of the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution and leading member of the campaign supporting ElBaradei, said that the Friday protests sent an important message to the Brotherhood and Salafi groups.
“This message is that they can’t act individually based on their own personal interests,” Samir said. “They need to unite with the rest of Egypt’s political powers, otherwise they will fall,” he added.
However, Bayoumi said that these political powers and other figures want to impose “the dictatorship of the minority” and enforce their will on the majority, referring to their demand to establish a new constitution before parliamentary elections.
According to the constitutional amendments, the elected members of the new parliament must appoint a 100-member constituent assembly to draft a new constitution within six months of its appointment.
The parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in September.
On March 19, 77.2 percent voted yes in a referendum on the constitutional amendments, while 22.8 percent voted no which endorsed the army’s plan to hold elections first.
The SCAF statement called on all powers to accept the people’s will which is protected by the army, adding that no one will be able to “usurp authority” without the people’s consent.
It also called on national powers to disregard their personal interest in favor of the country’s best interests.
The statement said that people are watching all national powers closely and that they will support the powers which help them through this “historical” and “sensitive” period to realize their dreams of a bright and promising future.
The army council also denied that it seeks absolute authority in Egypt because this would be a violation of legitimacy and the principles and values that guide the military.
“SCAF is sincerely working hard to end this transitional period in order to hand over the country’s [rule] to a civil authority democratically elected by the people,” the statement said.
Political powers agreed that SCAF wanted a swift transition to civilian rule.
However, Abdel Fattah suspected that the army might support a presidential candidate with a military background and rally the support of Salafis and the Brotherhood to guarantee that it will have immunity from criticism and not be held accountable for its actions in the future.
Samir criticized what he described as the army’s “guardianship” on the people and its unilateral decisions.
“That’s why the army should have a dialogue with the people to discuss these [amended laws] to decide whether their in the people’s best interest or not,” he said.