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Congressional Research Service: Egypt: Transition Under Military Rule

Author: Jeremy M. Sharp
June 21, 2012


This report provides a brief overview of the transition thus far and information on U.S. foreign
aid to Egypt.

On January 25, 2011, Egyptians began 18 days of mass protests that eventually drove President Hosni Mubarak to resign from the presidency after 29 years in power. In the wake of Mubarak's
resignation, a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)—made up entirely of military officers who enjoyed leading positions under Mubarak—has exercised executive authority directly and via an interim cabinet. The SCAF oversaw a March 2011 referendum that approved amendments to Egypt's constitution, and also issued new laws on the formation of political parties and the conduct of parliamentary elections. The amended constitution laid out a transitional framework in which the elected People's Assembly and Shura Council, in conjunction with the SCAF, were to select members for a 100-person Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution subject to a referendum.

Legislative elections held in late 2011 and early 2012 granted significant majorities to Islamist political parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party. The SCAF and various non-Islamist forces challenged the legislature's efforts to select members for the Constituent Assembly, and a court ruling found the legislative electoral law unconstitutional, putting the recent election results and the future of the Islamist-dominated parliament in doubt. As polls closed for the final round of Egypt's June 2012 presidential election, the SCAF issued further amendments to the transitional constitution, granting itself sweeping powers to appoint members of the Constituent Assembly, enforce martial law, and remain immune from oversight by the newly elected president. Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi has claimed victory in the poll.

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