Egypt's Brotherhood wants parliament to form govt

Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:06pm GMT
 

* Muslim Brotherhood could be at odds with army

* Wants parliamentary majority to form government

By Tom Perry

CAIRO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - The Muslim Brotherhood believes a majority in the new parliament should form a new government, the head of the group's political party said on Tuesday, a position that could set the Islamists on course for a row with Egypt's military rulers.

Mohamed Mursi, leader of the group's Freedom and Justice Party, said a cabinet not backed by a parliamentary majority could not govern in practice. The Freedom and Justice Party is widely expected to do well in a three-stage legislative election that began on Monday and concludes in January.

"A government that is not based on a parliamentary majority cannot conduct its work in practice," Mursi said to reporters during a tour of polling stations in the working class district of Shubra in Cairo.

"Therefore we see that it is natural that the parliamentary majority in the coming parliament will be the one that forms the government," added Mursi, whose group was banned under the deposed President Hosni Mubarak.

"We see that it is better for it to be a coalition government built on a majority coalition in the parliament," Mursi added.

BROTHERHOOD SEES 40 PCT TURNOUT

The military council last week appointed a new prime minister to form a government following the resignation of the previous cabinet in the face of street protests demanding an immediate end to army rule.

Though a member of the military council has said the new parliament will not have the power to dismiss the cabinet or form a new one, observers question whether the generals will be able to resist the will of a chamber elected in a fair vote.

According to their own timetable, the generals will hand power to a civilian president by mid-2012. Until then, the council will exercise sweeping powers formerly held by Mubarak, for whom the legislature was no more than a rubber stamp.

Turnout has been high for the first round of the three-phase election. A member of the military council said on Tuesday he expected turnout of more than 70 percent of registered voters.

Mursi, speaking before the polls were due to close in the first phase on Tuesday, said indications suggested a turnout of close to 40 percent. "The Egyptian people today are performing a duty for their nation," he said.

"After this duty, the Egyptians, God willing and with the passing of time, will obtain their complete rights. This is a first step to organise the Egyptian house from the inside, the political restructuring of Egypt," he said.

"Egyptians are today practicing their right to vote and picking the parliament of the revolution in complete freedom," he said. (Writing by Tom Perry, editing by Peter Millership)

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