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Egypt's Ruling Military Council Unlikely to Budge Despite Vow to Transfer Power?

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood political party has claimed victory in the country's first ever democratic presidential elections, meaning victorious candidate Mohammed Morsi will now have to work with the ruling military council in a transfer of power. However, recent moves made by the interim government have prompted skepticism about a speedy transition.

After a series of moves undertaken by the temporary government that appear to favor the military council maintaining power, critics have begun questioning if those tasked with leading the country after former President Hosni Mubarak's ouster have any intention of stepping aside.

Although the military council has vowed to shift power to Morsi, last week Egypt's highest court, the judges of which were appointed by Mubarak, dissolved the country's newly developed parliament -- a decision that brought allegations of a coup by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The judges also ruled that Ahmed Shafiq, previously appointed prime minister by Mubarak, could run for the presidency -- ignoring a law implemented a month prior barring leaders prominent in the Mubarak regime from participating in the elections.

Additionally, after the polls closed on Sunday, the ruling military council implemented a sweep of constitutional amendments that essentially stripped Morsi of all presidential power.

The amendments include giving the military council legislative authority in lieu of a parliament, as well as giving the council control of drafting a new constitution.

Some Egyptian citizens have become skeptical that the military council will indeed hand over authority to Morsi as promised, after the Muslim Brotherhood candidate garnered 52 percent of the votes while Shafiq gained 48 percent.

"The new decree is a way for the military council to force itself as guardian on the Egyptian people and their great revolution," a coalition of pro-democracy groups called the Revolutionary Youth Union told Reuters Tuesday in reference to the constitutional amendments.

"The decree confirms the continuity of the military council in power and not handing over to an elected president as was promised from the start of the revolution," the Revolutionary Youth Union added.

The U.S. has also expressed concern about continued military rule in Egypt.

The Associated Press quoted State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland as saying Monday that this is a "critical moment in Egypt, and the world is watching closely […] We are particularly concerned by decisions that appear to prolong the military's hold on power."

The Muslim Brotherhood was stepping up its push for democratic power by holding rallies in Cairo and other cities Tuesday, urging the interim government to swiftly step down and revoke its newly implemented constitutional amendments.

Although the military council continues to promise a swift transfer of power, an analysis by the Los Angeles Times argues that a speedy transfer is impossible, as the military controls the country's budget and maintains vast business assets.

While many hope that Morsi will be the first democratic president to lead Egypt, observers suggest that he may be destined to serve merely as a figurehead while the military council continues calling the shots.

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