Last updated: 6 May, 2012

Egypt MPs and military discuss government crisis

A delegation of MPs on Sunday met Egypt’s military rulers in an attempt to resolve a government crisis that has seen parliamentary sessions suspended for more than a week, officials from both sides said.

The meeting comes after tensions flared ahead of a key presidential election slated for later this month.

Around a dozen parliamentarians including speaker Saad al-Katatni met Sami Anan, deputy chief of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) that has ruled the country since the February 2011 fall of president Hosni Mubarak.

They were to discuss ways of drawing a line under the crisis over the composition of a panel to draw up a new constitution and over anti-military clashes at the defence ministry that saw two people killed and hundreds hurt.

No details were immediately available on outcome of the talks.

The Abbassiya district of the capital where the defence ministry is located was calm on Sunday after the second overnight curfew in a row and after the military on Saturday ordered 300 people detained after Friday’s clashes.

Last Sunday, the Islamist-dominated parliament decided to suspend sessions for a week in protest at the military refusing to sack the government and name the powerful Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) to head a new one.

A marathon parliamentary election which ended in January saw Egypt’s two main Islamist parties catapulted to the centre stage of politics, clinching nearly three quarters of the 498 seats in the legislature.

The Brotherhood said on its website last Sunday the military had indicated there would be a cabinet reshuffle before the presidential election, but so far this has not happened and parliamentary meetings have resumed.

Also on the agenda for the meeting between the members of parliament and the SCAF was the make-up of the panel charged with drafting a new constitution before the end of a transition period on June 30.

The judiciary suspended the original panel formed by parliament and comprised of mostly Islamists.

The first round of the presidential election is scheduled for May 23 and 24, and the interim military leadership has promised to hand power to an elected civilian president by the end of June.