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Parliamentary elections delayed in Egypt

Egypt's first democratic elections since Mubarak's ouster could be postponed.
Egypt tahrir square elections parliamentEnlarge
An Egyptian soldier guards the Parliament building, some 500 meters from Cairo's Tahrir Square, on February 09, 2011. On July 13, 2011, Egyptian state media announced that the country's first parliamentary elections since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak would be delayed until at least until October. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt's first democratic elections since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak will be delayed for up to two months, reported Agence France-Presse on Wednesday.

An official in Egypt's military-led interim government, which has governed the nation since Mubarak's February 11 departure, told state media on Wednesday that elections for both houses of parliament would likely be postponed.

"It has been decided to hold elections for the People's Assembly and the Shoura Council next October or November," said the official, according to AFP.

Both the upper and houses of Egypt's parliament were dissolved in mid-February, just days after Mubarak resigned.

Upcoming elections were originally scheduled to take place in the early part of September. 

The interim government's decision to delay the vote appears to be aimed at appeasing the growing crowds of angry protesters who have taken to the streets across the Arab world's most populous nation.  The government has offered several concessions to demonstrators this week (see here and here).  

For six days, thousands of Egyptians have virtually shut down the city center of the nation's capital, Cairo, with an extended sit-in throughout Tahrir Square.  Protests have also erupted in cities across the country this week.  

Many activists were seeking a postponement to allow more time for new political parties to develop their institutional bases around the nation.

Some in Tahrir feared that only the already well-established political movements - such as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood - would be able to compete effectively in September.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-casbah/parliamentary-elections-delayed-egypt