Cairo - The first Egyptian presidential election since the fall of Mubarak should be held in May. In making yesterday's news, the head of the Electoral Commission, Farouk Sultan (pictured), said that the first round of voting would take place on 23 and 24 May and the possible run-off on 16 and 17 June: the winner should be named by June 21.
Before the election for the new president, however, a referendum must be held to approve the new Constitution. To this end, on Saturday the two parliamentary chambers will have to choose the one hundred members of the group that will draw up the new fundamental charter. According to Sultan, the document should be drafted in time to allow the Electoral Commission to accept candidates for the Presidency of the Republic between March 10 and April 8 and to publicize the list of candidates on April 26.
There will be no international observers at the elections.
The announcement of the head of the Election Commission comes a day after the election of new president of the Shura Council, the upper house of the Egyptian parliament. As expected, given the results of the elections, he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which controls 59% of the Shura Council and 43% of the lower chamber of parliament, the People's Assembly.
The little is known of the newly elected speaker Ahmed Fahmi who, in his inaugural address, pledged to "maintain the same distance from all, without distinction between majority and opposition, in support of democratic practice." Fahmi also praised the General Council which has ruled the country since the fall of Mubarak, saying that it supported the revolution and defended the nation.
If the election of Fahmi is a consequence of the electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood, other facts have led Egyptian observers to believe that in reality the struggle for power is still at least partially open. Such as the delayed announcement of the election committee - expected February 19 - seen as a consequence of the resistance of the military to hand over power to civilian institutions and the general praise by the Speaker of the Shura Council are considered some kind of agreement that would allow the military to maintain some form of control over foreign policy and defense, while the Muslim Brotherhood would be left a free hand in the control of Egyptian society.
An echo of the lifelong struggle for power between the generals and civil society is seen in this picture, even in the decision announced today that the Attorney General has allowed the departure of the Americans who are part of non-governmental organizations accused of having received illegal funds to incite the population. Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud's decision arrived in the aftermath of the resignation of judges who must judge the 43 people, including 19 Americans and other foreigners, of the accused NGOs. The incident has raised a dispute between the U.S. government and Egypt, which annually receives one billion and 200 million dollars in military aid from Washington.