Egypt’s presidential elections committee said it would stop its work in preparation for presidential elections due later this month after what it said was an insult to the committee by members of parliament during its session on Monday, as the military slapped a curfew in central Cairo for a fourth straight night.
The committee said in a statement it would not meet on Tuesday as planned with presidential candidates and media figures pending “suitable conditions for the meeting.”
It was not immediately clear whether this would affect the timeline for Egypt’s landmark elections due on May 23 and 24, according to Reuters.
The elections committee said members of parliament had expressed distrust and insulted its judges, and it called on the ruling army council to intervene to allow the panel to continue its work.
“If some seek to complicate the situation and stir strife then (the committee) apologizes for not continuing its work in the manner that satisfies it and that realizes the hopes of the Egyptian people,” the statement said.
A senior member of the presidential elections committee, Hatem Bagato, confirmed the contents of the statement to Reuters, but gave no other details.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s military rulers decided Monday to slap a curfew around the defense ministry in central Cairo for a fourth straight night in the wake of deadly clashes ahead of a landmark presidential poll.
At least 11 people were killed in clashes last week around Cairo’s Abbassiya district, where the defense ministry is located.
The military has arrested hundreds of people following the clashes, according to AFP.
Tensions have been running high in Egypt ahead of the poll, with many suspecting the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took charge after Mubarak was ousted, will keep its grip on power.
But the SCAF has vowed to hand power to civilian rule when a president is elected and denied it is backing any candidate in the election.
If no outright winner emerges this month, a run-off is to be held June 16-17.
MENA reported Monday that nearly 300 Egyptians, including 24 minors, will face charges over last December’s violence in Cairo.
Some 293 people have been charged by investigative judges for acts ranging from damaging public buildings to possession of cold arms, Molotov cocktails and drugs, it said.
Twenty-four of the suspects will be judged by a court for minors, AFP reported.
The date for the trials has not yet been set.
The deadly clashes in mid-December saw protestors hostile to the country’s military rulers face off against police in front of government headquarters in central Cairo.