In what is certian to add to the soaring resentment against Army rule, Egypt’s military on Tuesday revived a powerful emergency council that is dominated by men in uniform, even as Egyptians geared up for a fresh round of protests against military’s expanding control.
The 16-member National Defence Council, that is convened only in times of emergency and when the country is under threat, has not been in session since former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.
The council, that is to be headed by the President, has 11 military men on it and only five civilian leaders including parliamentary speakers, the foreign minister, and the finance minister. The announcement comes at a time when the country’s leading political force, the Muslim Brotherhood, has charged the military of orchestrating a soft coup, following a court ruling that dissolved the recently-elected parliament.
With concerns mounting over possible public unrest, the US urged Egypt’s military to move swiftly on plans to transfer full power to an elected civilian government and suggested failure to do so would prompt a review of US ties, which includes billions of dollars in military and civilian aid. The Brotherhood, meanwhile, called the people to return to the streets to protest against what it calls a "coup" by the ruling generals.
Local daily Al-Shorouk said 10 of the members of the National Defense Council would be SCAF members, and a complementary constitutional declaration stipulates that they will continue in their positions without change until the new constitution is drafted.