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Egyptian Interim Leader Offers Election Timetable, Appoints New Prime Minister

July 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
Egypt's military-appointed interim President Adly Mansour laid out a timetable for amending the country's constitution and electing a new parliament and president. Mansour also named an interim prime minister and vice president. Judy Woodruff reports on reactions to Egypt's new political "road map."
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The interim leadership of Egypt took shape today, and there were new pledges of outside aid to help the battered economy.

It all came a day after more than 50 Islamist protesters died in a clash with troops.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohammed Morsi knelt in prayer at midday near the site of yesterday’s killings. They said the violence outside an army barracks has reinforced the country’s battle lines.

HAMDI EL SAID, Egypt: Mohammed Morsi is my president. And I voted for him. I will defend my vote which I gave to him until I become a martyr, like the people who were killed yesterday.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In the wake of the killings, Adly Mansour, the military-appointed interim president, laid out a timetable for amending the Egyptian constitution and electing a parliament and president. A top Brotherhood cleric denounced the timetable.

GRAND MUFTI ABDEL RAHMAN AL-BARR, Muslim Brotherhood: We do not recognize this military coup or whatever came as an aftermath of it. Therefore, there is no need to speak about any decrees because they were issued by people without authority.

JUDY WOODRUFF: A spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry brushed aside the objections. He insisted the army will have no political role in the future and he argued that leaving Morsi in power would have led to calamity.

BADR ABDELATTY, Spokesman, Egyptian Foreign Ministry: Without the intervention by the army forces, it could have a disastrous scenario, including a possible wide range of civilian war — you call it war or the conflicts among the two parts of the society.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Mansour also appointed a prime minister today, Hazem el-Beblawi, an economist, social democrat, and supporter of the 2011 revolution.

The job was originally set to former diplomat and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, but objections from hard-line Islamists scuttled that move. Instead, ElBaradei was named a vice president today.

A short time later, state TV broadcast a statement from the military chief who engineered Morsi’s removal. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the so-called road map laid out by the military gave — quote — “a specific timetable for every step of the rebuilding of the constitution in a way that will guarantee and achieve the will of the people. And that means the landmarks of the path are determined and clear.”

Some in Cairo voiced hope that the move will help end the violence.

EMAD ABDEL AAL, Egypt: By the end of this year, we must have a president, a parliament and a finished constitution so that we can overcome the divided situation we have on the streets right now.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In Washington, there was tentative praise from White House spokesman Jay Carney.

JAY CARNEY, White House Press Spokesman: We are cautiously encouraged by the announcement by the interim government that it has a potential plan for moving forward with a democratic process and elections, both parliamentary and presidential, and we think that’s a good thing.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So far, the Obama administration has said it will maintain U.S. aid to Egypt. And in a bid to bolster Egypt’s economy, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced today a total of $8 billion dollars in assistance.