Egypt to hold parliamentary vote in Feb/March: foreign minister

Catherine MacDonald
(Blank Headline Received)
Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy speaks during a joint news conference with his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo after their meeting in Madrid November 7, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Sergio Perez

By Catherine MacDonald

MADRID (Reuters) - Egypt will hold parliamentary elections "between February and March", to be followed by a presidential vote in early summer, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said on Friday.

The elections will replace the leaders appointed after the army ousted elected president Mohamed Mursi in July.

Fahmy also told Reuters in an interview that the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of Mursi's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, "is still legal in Egypt" and free to participate in the parliamentary election.

Speaking during a visit to Spain, he said presidential elections would be announced "by the end of next spring" and that the elections would be held "a maximum of two months after the announcement."

"So you're looking at elections in the summer for president, that's the last step," he said.

Fahmy's comments provided the most specific timeline yet for the end of the interim army-backed government and a return to electoral politics in the Arab world's most populous country, which since Mursi's ouster on July 3 has seen some of the worst violence in its modern history.

He had said in September that the transitional phase of government should end "by next spring," though he did not give specific dates at that time.

The elections will come after a referendum on a new constitution, which Fahmy said would be held in December. A 50-member committee is working on amending a constitution that was drafted under Mursi by an Islamist-dominated assembly.

Since July, the army-backed government has carried out a security crackdown on Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood. Its leaders are behind bars, as are more than 2,000 of its members and supporters. Hundreds of Islamists have been killed since the army takeover.