Under a timetable that sets Egypt's first post-revolution parliamentary election for next spring, Egypt's interim military rulers could remain in power for at least another year.
The prospect of prolonged military rule has many presidential hopefuls criticising the slow pace of change since the winter uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak from his nearly 30-year rule. The military council took power in February when Mubarak stepped down and is setting the election schedule.
Parliamentary elections are set to end in mid-March, but it's not clear when a presidential election will be held. No one knows what type of government Egypt will have and what powers the new president will have. Campaigning rules are still based on a 2005 law tailored to Mubarak's rule.
The newly elected parliament is expected to hold its first sessions in March and choose a committee to write the constitution, a task that must be completed within a year.
With no elected government in place to deal with foreign countries or to be held accountable by the population, the economy will be further stalled and the security situation will remain unstable, said Amr Moussa, a front-runner for the presidency.
"It's not quick enough," said Moussa, the former head of the Arab League.
Moussa said the presidential vote should follow the parliamentary balloting by only a month or two. "It should not wait a full year... When will the presidential elections be set? I don't know, some talk about August, some talk about November."
Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fotouh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who is running for president as an independent, agrees that a presidential election needs to come soon.
"Presidential elections should start immediately after parliamentary elections are complete, and they should be simultaneous with the writing of the constitution," he said. "It would mean the end of military interference in the country's political affairs."
The military leadership's lack of experience in ruling a nation is hurting Egypt's transition, he said.
A military analyst close to the ruling council said that despite the military leadership's desire to transfer power, they cannot until the new constitution is in place and the president has been elected. The earliest date for a presidential election would be in September 2012, he said.
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