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Egyptian ambassador says his country will install new gov't in several months


SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- As the heavy death toll from the violent political uprising in Egypt has raised global concern, the country's interim government is now working toward holding elections for a new parliament and administration within the next several months, the Egyptian ambassador to South Korea said Wednesday.

About 1,000 Egyptian protesters have been reported killed so far in the interim government's crackdown on violence-wielding supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi, ousted by the military in early July amid rising public discontent.

The international media outlets have widely described the overthrow of Morsi as a military coup, with the United States weighing plans to suspend its military aid to the Arab country.

Morsi came to power in June 2012 as the country's first democratically elected president, but his government's exclusionary political practices and inability to deal with the economic decline have triggered anger and unrest in the country.

The military-backed interim government began its armed crackdown in mid-August, which spiraled into the current bloodshed.

"I don't think it will go for a long time," Ambassador Mohamed Elzorkany said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. "There will be skirmishes and sporadic violent activities here and there for a while ... then the will of Egyptian people will prevail, which is stability, peace, economic growth and social cohesion, It will come quite soon," the ambassador said.

The interim government has a road map for tiding over the current crisis, under which it will install a new government in at least nine months, according to the ambassador.

"A group of experts and the full constituent assembly made up of 50 figures from all walks of life to draft the constitution will be announced, and after that there will be a parliamentary election followed by a presidential election," Elzorkany said. "Within seven to nine months, all government institutions will be in place."

Some international media firms are portraying Morsi's overthrow as Egypt's failure of democracy, raising concerns that it will reverse the success shown in the Egytian Revolution in 2011, in which populous protests overthrew Hosni Mubarak's military government from 30 years of ruling.

"The government of Egypt is not against peaceful demonstrations in any way as long as they are not violent," the ambassador said. "And this is one of the tenets and values of democracy and we respect that."

But the use of violence and arms wielded by protesters led by the Islamist group Brotherhood are "unacceptable," the ambassador said, adding that what they are doing is "not only violence, this is terrorist acts."

"Democracy is not about ballot box only," he said, arguing that the Morsi government, although elected democratically, turned its back to the general Egyptian people by ignoring the rights of minorities like Egyptian Christians and women.

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