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Egyptian Rulers Set Elections, Vow to Lift Emergency Laws
March 29, 2011

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In a flurry of announcements, the military rulers of Egypt set out the country's immediate future, one that many protesters can be happy with, at least in the long term.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has announced that parliamentary elections in Egypt will take place in September (exact date to be determined). To that end, the council agreed to make it easier for people to form political parties. Most importantly, the council has said that it would list the decades-old emergency laws before the elections (again, exact date to be determined).

Those elections, whenever they take place, will elect the country's government, including a new President, from among a potentially wide body of new political parties, including the long-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which has announced that it will not run a candidate for president. After the elections, the military council will hand power back to the elected government, the council said.

Political parties must have the support of 5,000 members from at least 10 of the country's provinces. Some opposition leaders have protested that such requirements would take more time than is available to them in the time remaining before the September elections, given that political parties other than the ruling National Democratic Party have been officially nonexistent for many years. The NDP and the Muslim Brotherhood, with their large membership and money sources, stand a better chance at being better organized.

Egypt has been in a state of legislative flux since Hosni Mubarak resigned as President, after weeks of comprehensive protests by thousands of people in Cairo's Tahrir Square brought Egypt's authoritarian regime and autocratic practices to a worldwide audience as never before.

One of the prime goals of the protesters was the removal of the emergency laws, a set of oppressive rules set in stone after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Another of the prime goals was a more democratic government. Both of those goals will have been achieved at the end of the September elections.



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