Egypt's new military regime dismantled ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak's former regime on Sunday, dissolving parliament, suspending the constitution and promising a referendum on political reform.
While the civilian cabinet met for the first time since Mubarak's downfall, the generals made it clear where authority now lies, issuing a proclamation setting a six-month timetable to prepare democratic elections.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' "communique number five" said it would "run the affairs of the country on a temporary basis for six months." The communique -- read on state television -- said the military would form a panel to rewrite the constitution, which effectively locked down power for Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP), and submit it to a referendum.
The dissolved legislative body was seen as illegitimate following elections last year that were marred by widespread allegations of fraud and gave the NDP an overwhelming majority.
The statement also confirmed that the chairman of the supreme military council, Mubarak's defence minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, is now de facto head of state and represents Egypt on the international stage. On Sunday, Egyptian troops fired warning shots and scuffles broke out when policemen protested to restore their reputation and win pay rises after they found themselves on the wrong side of the uprising.
Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said, however, that Mubarak remained at his residence in the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.