U.S. media is reporting that the ruling Egyptian military council has reached a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups to speed up the transition to civilian rule. According to a New York Times report:
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and ALAN COWELL Published: November 22, 2011 CAIRO — The ruling military council agreed on Tuesday to speed up the transition to civilian rule in a deal made with Islamist groups but which seemed unlikely to satisfy the demands of liberal parties and the more than 100,000 protesters who gathered in the center of the capital to demand an immediate transfer of power. The agreement came after the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces met with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in a session that was boycotted by most other political parties. The deal called for a new constitution and a presidential election no later than next June, as well as a new civilian cabinet to be led by a technocrat prime minister rather than a politician. Under the agreement, the first round of elections for a national assembly would go ahead as scheduled on Monday, a major goal of the Brotherhood, which stands to win a large share of the seats. But it would also leave the civilian government reporting to the military — effectively a continuation of what amounts to martial law in civilian clothes — until next June. With the police crackdown galvanizing anger at what protesters see as the military council’s increasingly open play for long-term political power, it was unclear whether any credible civilian leader would take the job of prime minister if the government remained subordinate to the military. “No one is going to accept another civilian government micromanaged” by the military commanders, said Hossam Bahgat, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Referring to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces by its initials, Islam Lotfy, a onetime leader of the Muslim Brotherhood youth movement, said: “The people will not be happy if the SCAF just give them some painkillers.” Mr. Lotfy was among the instigators of the revolution; he was later expelled from the Brotherhood for starting a more centrist breakaway political party with other young Brothers. “It may be the solution will be the SCAF delegating responsibilities to a new cabinet with full authority to manage the country,” he said. Protesters in Tahrir Square in central Cairo battled with the police in nearby streets for the fourth straight day, braving an increasingly lethal crackdown in what seemed to be a leaderless expression of rage.
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