Egypt presidential polls by end of June 2012

The pledge was announced by presidential hopeful Mohammed Salim al-Awaa after a meeting with the ruling generals. It marks the biggest concession by the military leadership since anti-government protests began this weekend, mushrooming into a national revolt, which has claimed over 35 lives.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who took power when Hosni Mubarak was ousted, said in a TV address that he had accepted the cabinet's resignation. He said that crucial legislative polls which he said would be held on schedule.

He set the latest time for electing a president at the 30 of June 2012 adding that elections are to go ahead as planned. Tantawi accepted the resignation of the cabinet headed by Essam Sharaf but said it will stay in power until a new government is formed. He fell short of naming the new prime minister or which forces will be represented in it.

Tantawi vehemently denied Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) or the army was interested in power adding that they repeatedly promised they will hand over power to an elected authority. He said accusations it of being collaborators with the former regime were categorically rejected.

Finally he said the SCAF does not intend to step down unless a referendum was conducted for people to vote on them leaving.

Earlier reports said that military had agreed to set up a "national salvation government" and push forward the process towards presidential polls.

Egypt's civilian government headed by Essam Sharaf resigned yesterday following three days of violent protests at the iconic Tahrir Square here but reports said the ruling military council was seeking agreement on a new government.

The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), which governs post Hosni Mubarak Egypt, have agreed to form a "national salvation government" and speed up the process towards presidential elections, BBC said quoting reports.

The move follows days of often violent protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Delegates at a crisis meeting between political groups and the military said parliamentary elections next week would go ahead as scheduled.

They said presidential elections would take place before the end of June next year - a key demand of protesters.

Selim al-Awwa, a participant in the talks, told Mena news agency the new government "would implement the goals of the revolution".

Earlier, fresh violence was feared as Egyptians today converged on Cairo's revolutionary Tahrir Square in response to a call for a million man march, threatening to derail the country's first elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

Rattled by a fresh round of protests, Egypt's military is considering the possibility of roping in former IAEA chief and activist Mohamed ElBaradei as the new prime minister of the country, al Ahram reported.

Sensing widespread public backing after years of political wilderness, the country's Islamist grouping Muslim Brotherhood has given the call for continued protests, demanding an end to military rule.

Four days of violence have already left 35 people dead as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) reportedly rejected the resignation by the cabinet led by interim prime minister Essam Sharaf and extended an olive branch to the protesters, inviting them for dialogue.

Al Jazeera had said the council was seeking agreement on a new prime minister before it would accept the resignation.

The SCAF has invited all political and national forces for an emergency dialogue to look into the reasons behind the current crisis and ways to resolve it, said an official statement.
The Brotherhood, which is the largest political force in the country agreed to participate in the talks.

"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has called a meeting and we will participate," Saad al-Katatni, secretary general of the Party of Freedom and Justice, the Brotherhood's political wing, said.

Simultaneously the government asked the Justice Ministry to set up a committee to probe the violence.

Groups including the Coalition of Revolution Youth and the April 6 movement, which spearheaded the anti-Mubarak revolution, called for a "million-man march" to put pressure on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to cede power to civilian leaders

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