European Parliament says transition in Egypt could take at least a year

March 2nd, 2011 - 12:06 am ICT by BNO News  

BRUSSELS (BNO NEWS) — The European Parliament on Tuesday said that the transition to democracy in Egypt could take at least a year and not six months as planned by the transitional government.

During a joint meeting of the Human Rights Subcommittee and Foreign Affairs Committee, civil society representatives said that the period needed ranged from a year to a year and half.

“A fixed six-month transition period is not enough to have fair and competitive parliamentary and presidential elections,” said human rights activist Moataz El Fegiery, member of the Executive Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN).

Ayman Nour, El Ghad party chairman, added that the extended transition period is required to make sure that the transition will be based on proper foundations and taking into account parties which were marginalized in the past regime.

Nour also called for the European Union to aid this important period for the African country with incentives and not sanctions. The Egyptian politician called for help for political parties to rehabilitate, financial support for civil society and assistance in organizing transparent elections and strengthening human rights.

In mid-February, the United Nations announced the deployment of a human rights mission to Egypt in order to asses the human rights situation following the change of leadership.

Hosni Mubarak, who led Egypt as president for three decades, stepped down after weeks of anti-government protests by crowds calling for greater democracy and respect of human rights.

A military council took control of the North African country for six months or until elections are held. Many groups have announced their intentions to join the presidential election campaign, including the Muslim Brotherhood, banned since 1954, and Amr Moussa, the Secretary-General of the Arab League.

The military council also dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution. On Monday, Egyptian authorities froze the assets of the former President whose fortune is estimated at around $70 billion. A travel ban was also imposed on Mubarak and his family.

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