Eygpt army hopes to transfer power by Aug

 The remarks carried on the state agency were the clearest indication since Mubarak was forced to resign on Friday that the high command was committed to a brief timeframe for meeting the demands of pro-democracy protesters for a new start.

Some secular leaders have raised concerns, however, that racing into presidential and parliamentary elections in a nation where Mubarak had suppressed most opposition activity for 30 years may hand an advantage to the Muslim Brotherhood, probably Egypt’s best organised political force.

“The Higher Military Council expressed its hope to hand over power within six months to a civilian authority and a president elected in a peaceful and free manner that expresses the views of the people,” an armed forces statement said.

“The council affirmed that it does not seek power, that the current situation was imposed on the armed forces and that they have the confidence of the people,” it said.

The military also decreed that a committee headed by an independent judge, Tareq al-Bishry, should finish its work within 10 days on drafting amendments to the constitution. The plan is to then put these to a referendum.

Existing political groupings are mostly weak and fragmented. The Muslim Brotherhood, which under the now-suspended constitution could not form a party, may be the best organised group but its true popularity has yet to be tested.

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