Egypt will not be taken over by radical groups, the ruling military council announced on Tuesday during a meeting with officials from the country's news agency and major newspapers. The announcement was in response to queries about the democratic future of a country that has so long banned political groups that didn't agree with President Hosni Mubarak and his ruling National Democratic Party.
The parliamentary and then presidential elections that are scheduled to take place in September will be the freest in decades, and many observers the NDP and the well organized Muslim Brotherhood to deliver many members into the new parliament. Leaders of fledgling political movements have asked for more time to develop their political parties and gain enough support to qualify for the elections.
Under Mubarak, who ruled for 29 years following the assassination of Anwar Sadat, the Muslim Brotherhood, a powerful organization with political operations in several Middle Eastern countries, was outlawed but still ran "unofficial" candidates for parliament. As a result, the organization is more well prepared for early elections than other, newer political organizations.
The announcement by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will no doubt be greeted with relief by many international observers looking for stability in what has become a volatile region. The revolution in Egypt was notable for its relative nonviolence, compared with other similar movements greeted by violence, such as in Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria.
In other news, the Egyptian caretaker government said that it would be willing to re-examine relations with Iran. The announcement came after a meeting between high-ranking officials from both countries. Iran severed diplomatic ties with Egypt in 1980, after Anwar Sadat's government recognized Israel.
Also, Egypt's interim finance minister issued revised predictions for his country's economic growth rate, predicting a smaller-than-expected GDP increase and a larger-than-expected budget deficit. In many respects, the country is still reeling from the massive labor unrest fostered during the nearly three weeks of widespread protests against Mubarak's regime. Banks were closed for a number of days, and the national stock exchange plummeted when it reopened.