CAIRO, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour announced Sunday that presidential elections would be held before parliamentary polls, after hearing opinions from different parties.
In a televised speech, Mansour said the decision has taken into account "appeals from a majority of political parties and forces" during his nationwide talks with representatives from different groups.
Parliamentary polls would have come first under the military-backed roadmap after the removal of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July. However, the constitution gives the interim president the right to make amendments to the timetable of the roadmap.
"I have made the decision to amend the roadmap for the future, so that presidential elections will be held first and followed by parliamentary polls," Mansour said.
He urged the Supreme Electoral Committee (SEC) to fulfil its duties to open the door for candidates.
The SEC was expected to hold a meeting on Monday to take necessary arrangements for the presidential elections. Under the new constitution, in the absence of a parliament, presidential candidates should collect at least 25,000 signatures from 15 different governorates.
Mansour also issued a presidential decree after the speech, saying that the presidential elections should be held in no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days since the new constitution came into effect on Jan. 18.
Leaders of many political parties and analysts, who had campaigned in the past few weeks for the change of the timetable, hailed Mansour's decision.
They believed that the violence-stricken Arab country needs a strongman as early as possible to unite the people to deal with the political and economic problems and restore stability and order.
The liberal Free Egyptians Party said the decision would shorten the country's transitional course.
The ultraconservative Salafist Nour party, which was in favor of holding parliamentary elections first, said that the presidential decree was in line with the desire of most Egyptians.
However, other groups, most of which are Islamist parties, argued that the country would be more politically divided if presidential elections come first.
The Islamist Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya group, which supports the Muslim Brotherhood, said the arrangement could not end the division and conflicts in Egypt, which has been suffering political turmoil and needs political solutions.
On Saturday, at least 49 people were killed and nearly 300 were injured in clashes between security forces and Brotherhood supporters across Egypt.
One day later, millions of Egyptians flocked to streets and main squares nationwide to celebrate the third anniversary of the Jan. 25 revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
Many of them were holding posters of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, head of the armed forces, calling on him to run for the presidency.
The new constitution was approved with an overwhelming majority of 98.1 percent of the vote in a referendum held on Jan. 14-15.
Although the turnout was less than 40 percent, many analysts see the result as a reflection to the popularity that el-Sisi enjoys. Some media reports projected that he would declare his intention to run for presidency in the coming days.
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Morsi, who is detained in prison some 60 kilometers from the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, due in court on Wednesday at the Cairo Police Academy for the second session of his trial over charges of inciting the killing of protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo during his rule in December 2012, which left at least seven people dead. Full story
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