News / Middle East

Egypt Sets Presidential Vote First as Violence Tears Country

In this image made from video broadcast on Egyptian State Television, Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour speaks at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014.In this image made from video broadcast on Egyptian State Television, Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour speaks at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014.
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In this image made from video broadcast on Egyptian State Television, Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour speaks at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014.
In this image made from video broadcast on Egyptian State Television, Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour speaks at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014.
Elizabeth Arrott
Egypt's interim president has announced a change in the country's political road map, placing presidential elections as the next step in the transition after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last year. 

The plan was unveiled one day after clashes between police and protesters left 49 people killed, hundreds wounded and more than 1,000 arrested.

Interim President Adly Mansour's decision to hold the presidential election next was widely expected.

While last year's road map placed parliamentary elections first, the newly approved constitution allows Mansour to decide which comes first.

An Egyptian woman wears a mask of Egypt's Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2014.An Egyptian woman wears a mask of Egypt's Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2014.
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An Egyptian woman wears a mask of Egypt's Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2014.
An Egyptian woman wears a mask of Egypt's Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 25, 2014.
A popular groundswell and government-organized support for Defense Minister Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, who ousted the country's first freely-elected civilian president after mass protests against his rule, to run as president have been building in recent months.

Other candidates who have expressed interest in running have qualified their bids, saying they would not take part if General Sissi campaigns.

Posters, masks and signs heralding Sissi's leadership were at the center of celebrations of the third anniversary of Egypt's revolution Saturday in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

But just off the square, as well as across Cairo and the country, opponents to the general and the military-backed interim government turned out for rallies and marches.

A protester wounded in clashes with security forces is evacuated from the site in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.A protester wounded in clashes with security forces is evacuated from the site in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.
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A protester wounded in clashes with security forces is evacuated from the site in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.
A protester wounded in clashes with security forces is evacuated from the site in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.
Clashes between police and Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, as well as secular activists, were the deadliest this year.

Supporters look to General Sissi as a guarantor of stability, but security lapses in recent days have raised alarms.  Four bombs exploded Friday in Cairo, another three in Cairo and Suez on Saturday, and soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula were caught in a deadly ambush Sunday.

The Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Beit al Maqdis claimed responsibility for the bombings Friday and warned of more attacks to come

Security officials accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of collusion with Ansar Beit al Maqdis and has branded Morsi's organization a terrorist group.  Both Islamist groups have openly criticized each other, with the Brotherhood publicly condemning the bombings.

Interim President Mansour warned of further measures to counter the government's definition of terrorism.

He noted Egypt fought terrorism in the 1990s and will do so again. He added the government will not hesitate to take exceptional measures, if needed.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood continued marches Sunday.

  • Anti-government protesters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood flee after tear gas was fired by riot police during clashes on Ramsis Street, near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Jan. 25, 2014.
  • An antiquities restoration worker moves broken glass at the Egyptian National Library and Archives, which was damaged by a car bomb attack targeting the nearby Cairo Security Directorate, Cairo, Jan. 26, 2014.
  • Police officers fire rubber bullets at anti-government protesters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood at Ramsis Street, near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Jan. 25, 2014.
  • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi close the road during clashes with riot police in Cairo, Jan. 25, 2014.
  • An aerial view taken from an Egyptian army helicopter shows supporters of Egypt's army and police gathering at Tahrir Square, Cairo, Jan. 25, 2014.
  • An injured police officer is assisted by people out of the damaged Cairo Security Directorate after a bomb attack in downtown Cairo, Jan. 24, 2014.
  • People look at a destroyed taxi cab after an explosion at the Egyptian police headquarters in downtown Cairo, Jan. 24, 2014.
  • A police officer stands guard after a car bomb attack at the Egyptian police headquarters in downtown Cairo, Jan. 24, 2014.
  • Police officers and people gather in front of the damaged Cairo Security Directorate after a bomb attack in downtown Cairo, Jan. 24, 2014.
  • A police officer holds his weapon as he stands guard in front of the damaged Cairo Security Directorate building after a bomb attack in downtown Cairo, Jan. 24, 2014.
  • Demonstrators shout anti-terrorism slogans in front the site of a blast at Egyptian police headquarters in Cairo, Jan. 24, 2014.

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