ElBaradei Considered for PM Post, Diplomats Urge Restraint
According to an Egyptian military source, the SCAF has discussed the possibility of appointing opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei to head a new government following the cabinet’s resignation. Al Jazeera stated that “the council reportedly asked ElBaradei on Monday to take on the role of prime minister, but [he] is said to be hesitating over assurances on his authority to choose ministers.” Additionally, 245 Egyptian diplomats signed a statement urging the SCAF “to pledge to conduct presidential elections and hand over power to civilians by mid-2012 at the latest … [and to] stop systematic assaults by security on protesters.” Among those who signed the statement were ambassadors and advisers at the Foreign Ministry. Haaretz has also reported that the SCAF may announce a transfer of power to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland responded to ongoing protests, saying “we want to see all concerns brought forward through the electoral process and then through the process of, ultimately, drafting the constitution and moving forward.” She added that “we’re encouraging expression by all Egyptians through the ballot box,” in lieu of violence. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said “we call for restraint on all sides, so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt. ”
A Washington Post editorial asserts that the cause of the renewed unrest “is the failure by Egypt’s military rulers to unambiguously commit themselves to a plan and a timetable for handing over power to a democratically elected government.” The articles adds that “the United States should make clear that further military aid will depend on the establishment of a firm and expeditious timetable for a democratic transition,” a move also called for by the Egypt Working Group, a nonpartisan initiative aimed at shaping an effective U.S. policy response to Egypt’s transition.
Steven A. Cook writes that the SCAF’s “interest in remaining the sole source of political legitimacy and authority, the military’s economic interests, and the Ministry of Defense’s conception of stability are simply not compatible with a more democratic Egypt.” Finally, blogger Jason Stern composed a letter to teargas manufacturer Combined Systems, Inc. asking the company “to end [its] relationship with the Egyptian government and other authoritarian governments who have misused [its] products to kill their own citizens.”