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Egypt activists slam army's 'counter-revolution'

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Protesters burn a defaced poster of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik, ousted leader Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, at Tahrir square in Cairo June 14. — Photo Reuters

CAIRO: Egyptian parties and activists have accused the ruling military council of staging a “counter-revolution,” after a series of measures that consolidated its power ahead of polls to choose a new president.

Egypt's top court on Thursday paved the way for the army to assume parliament's powers after it annulled the house while allowing ousted president Hosni Mubarak's last premier to stand in the election.

Former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq is to face Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi in a presidential runoff election on Saturday and Sunday.

The Supreme Constitutional Court rulings also came a day after a decision by the justice ministry to grant army personnel the right to arrest civilians after that power was lifted when the decades-old state of emergency expired on May 31.

“This series of measures shows that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), the head of the counter-revolution, is adamant to bring back the old regime and the presidential elections are merely a show,” six prominent parties and movements said in a statement.

Since February 2011, when Mubarak was ousted and the military took power, there have been a series of steps to “abort the revolution” including the acquittal of Mubarak's two sons in corruption cases and the freeing of six police commanders accused of killing protesters during last year's uprising.

The groups including the Current Party, the National Front for the Justice and Democracy, and the Coalition of Revolution Youth have called on Mursi to withdraw from the presidential runoff “which is just a show that legitimises the presence of Scaf at the head of authority in Egypt.”

The groups also called on MPs to “rejoin the revolutionaries against Scaf domination of authority.”

The military council, which took power when Mubarak was ousted, has vowed to cede power to civilian rule after a president is elected.

The uncertain transition has been thrown into further disarray by Thursday's ruling which annulled parliament. The new president's powers were to have been defined by a constituent assembly appointed by parliament this week.

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