Ready to form new government: Muslim Brotherhood

Cairo: Egypt`s Muslim Brotherhood, which now dominates the parliament after historic the polls is ready to form a coalition government and demanded that the incumbent military-appointed cabinet be sacked as it has failed to check deteriorating security and economic situation in the country.

The military should appoint a Brotherhood representative as prime minister, who would then form a new coalition government, Brotherhood said in a statement.

Although The Brotherhood has no power to appoint a new cabinet while the military is in power and has also vowed not to field a presidential candidate who would have the power to do so, Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater said in an interview with al Jazeera that his group is ready to form a new government.

We won`t be the only ones who form it, but instead there should be an alliance to form it," he said.

An electoral alliance headed by the Brotherhood`s Freedom and Justice Party holds more than 46 per cent of the seats in the People`s Assembly, while the Salafi-oriented Nour Party holds around 23 per cent.

State institutions are being poorly managed, said Shater, adding that forming a new government will not be enough to reform them. He said there is an urgent need for the formation of municipal councils and gubernatorial elections.

Shater denied rumours that his group has agreed with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on a presidential candidate, and said the group will support a civilian candidate who is not a Brotherhood member or affiliated with the Mubarak regime.

Regarding the drafting of a new constitution, Shater said, "We, as the Muslim Brotherhood, are mulling a balanced wording based on the experiences of other countries.

However, the constituent assembly is the entity that will write [the constitution], not the Muslim Brotherhood." Shater also said the authors of the new constitution should not accede to the military`s desire to be shielded from civilian oversight.

However, Shater does support giving the military enough privacy to protect national security, but in a way that does not violate principles of public transparency. "We completely refused [former Deputy Prime Minister Ali] al-Selmy`s document that granted the SCAF complete privacy in the constitution. No one is above the law."

Selmy proposed a supra-constitutional principles last December that would have granted the military a privileged status in the new constitution. Islamists vehemently opposed the document on the grounds that it violated the constituent assembly`s autonomy in writing the new constitution.

Meanwhile, two defendants charged with involvement in the clashes that erupted outside the Suez Security Directorate last Thursday confessed to shooting at protesters, judicial sources said today.

The clashes continued for about four days to protest the failure of police to secure a football match in Port Said that left at least 74 people dead. According to the Health Ministry, the clashes resulted in the death of at least five protesters.

According to the sources, the two defendants said they randomly fired at protesters from their car, leading to a number of victims and injured policemen and protesters.

The sources added that the defendants confessed that two other people were with them during the shooting.They went on to say that four eyewitnesses testified before the prosecution and confirmed the defendants` statements.

The sources said the Suez prosecution renewed the detention of the two defendants for an additional 15 days pending investigations. Similar clashes broke out in Cairo between police and protesters in the wake of the Port Said violence. The clashes left at least 10 people dead.

In a statement read to the People`s Assembly, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim denied that the police used birdshots against protesters. Many lawmakers said they held Ibrahim responsible for protesters` deaths.