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As Cairo braces for protests, a deadlock over prime minister

July 07, 2013|By Edmund Sanders
  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans in Nasser City, a suburb of Cairo.
Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans… (Paul Schemm, AP Photo )

CAIRO -- Egypt’s new military-led interim government struggled Sunday to settle a dispute within its fragile coalition over who should lead the next cabinet.

But as Cairo braced for what are expected to be the largest demonstrations in days, no progress was apparent in resolving the political standoff.

Liberal youth activists, led by the Rebel movement that helped organize mass protests to oust Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last week, are pushing for secular opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei.

Egypt’s new interim President Aldi Mansour seemed set to appoint ElBaradei on Saturday and a swearing-in was said to be imminent.

But late Saturday night the government abruptly backtracked after the ultra-religious Nour Party threatened to pull out of the political transition process if ElBaradei got the post.

On Sunday, Rebel co-founder Mahmoud Badr publicly called upon Nour leaders to drop their opposition, vowing to ensure that their views would not be overshadowed.

A spokesman for Mansour said negotiations were ongoing. A decision was expected later Sunday.

The unlikely coalition of divergent opposition parties came together last week to support the military’s coup to remove the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

The dispute comes as Cairo is preparing for dueling demonstrations Sunday afternoon by pro- and anti-Morsi protesters.

Both sides were hoping to draw out as many of their supporters as possible in order to send a message to army generals.

The Muslim Brotherhood issued calls from the mosques around Cairo for members to take to the streets and bring the capital to a standstill.

Anti-Morsi groups, based in Tahrir Square, issued pleas on social media urging supporters to turn out in large numbers as they did last week.

The military is expected to create a buffer zone between the two camps to avoid a repeat of the clashes that killed three dozen people on Friday.

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