Egypt protesters sceptical as Tantawi promises vote


Egypt's military leadership has promised to hold presidential elections by June 2012, as thousands of protesters continued to gather in Tahrir Square in opposition to the regime.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Egyptian military council, also said that they could be willing to hold a referendum on transferring power to a civilian leadership.

He said that parliamentary elections would go ahead as planned on November 28. He had previously suggested a much longer timetable for the transfer of power, with elections delayed until 2013.

However, protesters continued to mass in the square, suggesting that they did not have faith in the military council's promises.

Some 36 people are believed to have been killed in anti-government clashes since protests flared up in Cairo last Friday.

On Monday Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's government, appointed by the military council after the Arab Spring revolution last February, resigned.

In Israel, which has enjoyed mostly peaceful relations with Egypt since the Camp David accords, events are being watched anxiously. Since the overthrow of the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, there has been growing concern about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's future.

Homeland Security Minister Matan Vilnai said that with the arrival of a new government after elections, he feared a a "grave erosion" of the peace treaty.

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