Egypt's New Constitution Will Not Change Military's Role, Says Leader

Egypt's parliamentary elections are due to commence as planned, and the ruling military council announced Sunday that a new constitution will not alter the position of the armed forces.

In light of recent protests, parliamentary elections are due to begin Monday. This newly-elected parliament will draft a new constitution.

The ruling military initially promised it would step down from power after a new constituent assembly was formed and a constitution was drafted.

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Armed Forces, announced at a press conference Sunday that a new constitution will not change the position of the armed forces.

"The position of the armed forces will remain as it is. It will not change in any new constitution," Tantawi said.

Two supra-constitutional articles presented earlier this month exempt Egypt’s army from parliamentary oversight.

This announcement proves especially foreboding due to the recent appointment of prime minister Kamal el-Ganzouri. El-Ganzouri previously served as prime minister under ex-president Hosni Mubarak from 1996-1999.

Egypt's civilians argue that the military is attempting to continue the oppressive rule of Mubarak, who was ousted from power after the Jan. 25 revolution during the Arab Spring Uprisings.

The military has remained stubborn in relinquishing control of the government, even though thousands of civilians have taken to the streets since last Saturday to push a prompt shift of power.

"We will not relinquish power because a slogan-chanting crowd said so. … Being in power is not a blessing. It is a curse. It’s a very heavy responsibility," Maj. Gen. Mokhtar el-Mulla said at a press conference Thursday.

El-Mulla added that leaving power would be a "betrayal of the trust placed in our hands by the people.”

International pressure now pushes Egypt to follow through with the parliamentary elections scheduled for Monday.

In a statement released Friday, the White House urged for "elections proceeding expeditiously, and all necessary measures taken to ensure security and prevent intimidation."

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