14 Feb 2011

Egyptian military council suspends constitution

10:09 pm on 14 February 2011

Egypt's new military rulers have dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution.

In a statement on state television on Sunday, the council said it will be in power for six months or until elections are held.

The current parliament is dominated by supporters of President Hosni Mubarak, ousted on Friday after mass protests which began on 25 January triggered by widespread unrest over unemployment, poverty and corruption.

The BBC reports the current constitution has prevented many parties and groups from standing in elections, leaving Egypt with a parliament packed with supporters of the National Democratic Party which is loyal to Mr Mubarak.

The announcement means elections could be held in July or August, instead of September as planned.

Opposition politician Ayman Nour says the steps taken by the military should satisfy the protesters.

However, Nobel Peace prize winner Mohammed El Baradei is calling for quick action by the military government to make its intentions clear.

He said on CNN that if there is no clear roadmap for democracy by Friday, people would go back on the streets in fresh demonstrations.

There have been scuffles as the army tried to remove many protesters from Tahir Square in Cairo.