Egypt’s powerful armed forces issued a virtual ultimatum to Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on Monday, calling on the nation’s feuding politicians to agree on an inclusive roadmap for the country’s future within 48 hours.
A dramatic military statement broadcast on state television declared the nation was in danger after millions of Egyptians took to the streets on Sunday to demand that Morsi quit and the headquarters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood were ransacked.
“If the demands of the people are not realised within the defined period, it will be incumbent upon (the armed forces)... to announce a road map for the future,” said the statement by chief-of-staff General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The people had expressed their will with unprecedented clarity in the mass demonstrations and wasting more time would only increase the danger of division and violence, he said.
The army said it would oversee the implementation of the roadmap it sought “with the participation of all factions and national parties but it would not get directly involved in politics or government.
Anti-Morsi demonstrators outside the presidential palace cheered the army statement, and the main opposition National Salvation Front, which has demanded a national unity government for months, applauded the military’s move.
Meanwhile, five non-Brotherhood government ministers tendered their resignations from the cabinet, apparently in sympathy with the protesters, underlining a sense of isolation for the party that won a series of elections last year.