Egypt may hold elections in October: President Mursi

President Mohamed Mursi says Egypt may hold parliamentary polls in October. (Reuters)

Egypt may hold parliamentary elections in October, state news agency MENA quoted President Mohammed Mursi as saying on Wednesday, dragging out the country’s turbulent political transition for at least six months.

Mursi’s original plan was for a four-stage election that would start in late April and put a parliament in place by July, but the schedule was turned on its head when a court overruled his decree setting out the timetable.

Mursi said the approval of a new election law could take two and a half months. Preparations for the election would then take another two months.

“Perhaps the elections will be held in the coming October,” MENA quoted him as saying.

The delay could give the government the political breathing space to negotiate a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan seen as vital to easing Egypt’s deep economic crisis. The deal implies unpopular austerity measures.

It may also allow time for Mursi to convince the opposition to take part in the election. Secular-minded parties had planned to boycott, saying the existing election law was drafted to suit the Islamists.

Addressing the Egyptian community in Doha, Mursi said he expected the new lower house of parliament to convene before the end of the year, MENA reported.

Earlier this month, a government minister said he expected Egypt to sign a deal with the IMF by the end of June and to receive the first tranche of the loan by then.

Last Update: Wednesday, 27 March 2013 KSA 10:59 - GMT 07:59