Egypt new PM claims more powers than predecessor

By Sarah El Deeb

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Nov. 25 2011 8:38 a.m. MST

The military has said parliamentary elections, the first since Mubarak's ouster, will be held on schedule despite the unrest in Cairo and a string of other cities to the north and south of the capital. Voting starts Monday and concludes in March, meaning that el-Ganzouri could be prime minister only until a new government is formed following the seating of a new legislature.

"El-Ganzouri is a new Sharaf. He's old regime," said Nayer Mustafa, 62. "The revolution was hijacked once. We won't let it happen again."

Friday's protest in Tahrir was dubbed by organizers as "The Last Chance Million-Man Protest." Swelling crowds chanted, "leave, leave" and "the people want to bring down the field marshal", in reference to Tantawi, who took over the reins of power from Mubarak.

Pro-reform leader and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was mobbed by hundreds of supporters as he arrived in the square and took part in Friday prayers, leaving shortly afterward.

"He is here to support the revolutionaries," said protester Ahmed Awad, 35. "He came to see for himself the tragedy caused by the military."

The demonstrators have vowed not to leave the sprawling plaza until the generals step down in favor of a civilian presidential council. Their show of resolve resembles that of the rallies which forced Mubarak to give up power.

About 5,000 supporters of the military staged their own demonstration several miles (kilometers) north of Tahrir in the district of Abbassiyah, not far from the Defense Ministry.

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters also took to the streets in other cities, including at least 10,000 in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and smaller crowds in Luxor and Assiut in southern Egypt.

The military has rejected calls to immediately step down, saying its claim to power is supported by the warm welcome given to troops who took over the streets from the discredited police early in the anti-Mubarak uprising as well as an overwhelming endorsement for constitutional amendments they proposed in a March referendum.

Tantawi has offered another referendum on whether his military council should step down immediately.

Such a vote, activists say, would divide the nation and likely open the door for a deal between the military and political groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt's largest and best organized group, the Brotherhood is notorious for its opportunism and thirst for power. It was empowered after the fall of Mubarak, regaining legitimacy after spending nearly 60 years as an outlawed group.

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