Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's leading Islamist party, claims its candidate won Sunday's presidential election and plans to protest a move by the country's military rulers to strip the presidency of much of its power, according to the group's website.
The official results of the election will be announced Thursday, but have been overshadowed by the generals' move, which has been called both a military power grab and a sign of anxiety over political Islam. In response, the Muslim Brotherhood and activists are planning a rally reminiscent of the Arab Spring protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak last year.
Like those protests, Tuesday's rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square will call for a change in the country's leadership. But this time the hostility will be aimed at the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces which issued a controversial constitutional declaration hours before the polls closed. The declaration gave the SCAF legislative power until the recently-dissolved parliament resumes control over the drafting of a new constitution, and authority to manage the military without civilian oversight, Reuters reports.
In a statement on the constitutional declaration, the Muslim Brotherhood said there was one word to describe the Military Council's move: "coup."
"Ultimately, this announcement amounts to a total coup d'etat against constitutional, popular, and revolutionary legitimacy," the statement reads. "For all this, we will participate vigourously with all the Egyptian people in expressing unequivocal rejection of all the foregoing by joining the million-man marches and protests in Tahrir Square."
The U.S. —which provides more than $1 billion in military aid to Egypt—now finds itself on the same side as the Muslim Brotherhood, which it had for years accused of terrorist activity.
"We are deeply concerned about the new amendments to the consitutional declaration, including the timing of their announcement as polls were closing," said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little in a statement to reporters Monday. "We have, and will continue, to urge the SCAF to reliquish power to civilian-elected authorities and to respect the universal rights of the Egyptian people and the rule of law."
Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.
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