- Special Sections
- Public Notices
CAIRO — The ruling military pledged Saturday to eventually hand power to an elected civilian government and reassured allies that Egypt will abide by its peace treaty with Israel after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, as it outlined the first cautious steps in a promised transition to greater democracy.
The military’s statement Saturday had been eagerly awaited by the public and thousands of protesters still massed in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square. The crowds were still riding high on jubilation over the success in removing Mubarak on Friday after 18 days of unprecedented popular protests, but they promised to maintain pressure on the military to carry through long-sought reforms.
After the statement, the main opposition coalition — a loosely based grouping of youth and traditional opposition groups — said it would end its main protest in Cairo’s Tahrir, or Liberation, Square but would call for weekly demonstrations after Friday prayers.
The group also listed its demands for the first time during a press conference. Those included: the lifting of hated emergency laws, the forming of a presidential council and broad-based unity government, the dissolution of parliament and creation of a committee to amend or rewrite the constitution. They called for reforms ensuring freedom of the press, freedom to form political parties and more transparent media institutions.
The coalition also called for an investigation into allegations of endemic corruption within the regime and the trial of officials responsible for the deaths of protesters.
Some protesters not linked to the coalition said they would stay camped on Tahrir Square, and it was not immediately clear when the downtown area would be cleared.
Appearing on state TV, a military spokesman said the Armed Forces Supreme Council asked the current government appointed by Mubarak in his final weeks to continue operating until a new one is formed. The step appeared to be a stopgap measure to keep the state and economy functioning while a transitional administration is set up.
Protesters have called for dramatic steps to ensure Egypt moves to a real democracy after nearly 30 years of autocratic rule under Mubarak and his ruling party.