Egypt’s military rulers dissolve parliament

By Nangayi Guyson – Cairo – Egypt’s new military rulers on Sunday dissolved a parliament dominated by the ruling party of former president Hosni Mubarak and suspended the constitution, two days after he was overthrown in a popular revolt, state TV said.

Egyptian ministersThe legislative body was seen as illegitimate following elections last year that were marred by widespread allegations of fraud and gave Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP) an overwhelming majority.

The military rulers that took over when Mubarak stepped down Friday and the caretaker government also set as a top priority the restoration of security, which collapsed during the 18 days of protests that toppled the regime.

The protesters had been pressing the ruling military council, led by Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi, to immediately move forward with the transition process by appointing a presidential council, dissolving the parliament and releasing detainees.

The current constitution has prevented many parties and groups from standing in elections, leaving Egypt with a parliament packed with supporters of the National Democratic Party, loyal to Mr Mubarak.

The correspondents say, the new announcement means elections could be held in July or August, instead of in September as planned.

However, the opposition’s Ayman Nour, who challenged Mr Mubarak for the presidency in 2005, described the military leadership’s steps as a “victory for the revolution”, Reuters news agency reported.

But, caretaker Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said his main priority was to restore the country’s security.