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Egypt Military Ruler Warns of ‘Grave’ Crisis

Egypt’s military ruler has warned of “extremely grave” consequences if the nation does not pull through its current crisis.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, in comments carried Sunday by the nation’s official news agency, also urged voters to turn out for the parliamentary elections starting on Monday.

“We will not allow troublemakers to meddle in the elections,” he said.”Egypt is at a crossroads – either we succeed politically, economically and socially or the consequences will be extremely grave and we will not allow that,” he said.

Tantawi is facing mounting pressure pushing him and his fellow generals on the ruling military council to step down immediately in favor of a civilian presidential council and a “national salvation” government to run the nation’s affairs until a president is elected.

Tantawi said that the parliamentary elections would be held as planned and stated that the army and police would secure polling stations and maintain public order. He noted that the military’s position would not change after the elections.

The military took the reins of power when Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February by a popular uprising.

Activists held more demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday, as part of their ongoing efforts to force the ruling military council out of power.

The protesters want Mohammed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, to head the new government.

ElBaradei said late Saturday he was ready to cancel his presidential bid in order to head such a government, if asked by the country’s ruling council.

Sunday’s demonstrations marked the ninth day of a revival of the protest movement that toppled Mubarak. At least 41 protesters, mostly in Cairo, have been killed in the latest protests and more than 2,000 have been wounded.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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