Moussa vision for Egypt could upset military

Tue Feb 7, 2012 7:53am GMT

By Paul Ingrassia and Tom Perry

CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egypt run by Amr Moussa would be a civilian state with an army that enjoys respect but not "a life of its own", a vision that could challenge the privileges of generals who have been ruling since Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power.

In an interview with Reuters, Moussa also said he would fight corruption to strengthen the economy, preserve strong ties with the United States, respect a peace treaty with Israel and cooperate with the Islamists who now dominate parliament.

A former Arab League secretary general, Moussa is one of the leading contenders in the presidential election expected in the next few months under a timetable laid out by the ruling military council which assumed power from Mubarak last year.

The generals have faced criticism at home and abroad over their management of the post-Mubarak transition, their commitment to democratic reform brought into question by actions reminiscent of the ousted leader's rule.

"I think they (the military council) will hand over the authority. I think that doing otherwise will be catastrophic for everybody," said Moussa, who as a liberal sits at the opposite end of the political spectrum to the Islamists who control 70 percent of seats in parliament.

"The military will be one of the basic institutions in the country, but not a separate one, meaning not having a life of its own and the country having a different life," he added, at his campaign headquarters in Giza on the west bank of the river Nile.

Moussa would not say whether he thought the military council was doing a good or bad job. But he added his voice to those lobbying for a quicker transition of power from the army, saying the presidential election should be held in April.

"Now what counts is that the transfer of authority will take place within the next few weeks," he said.   Continued...

Egypt's Amr Moussa attends a plenary session during the World Policy Conference in Austria, December 9, 2011. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer
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