msnbc.com news services
updated 3/30/2011 12:25:04 PM ET 2011-03-30T16:25:04

Egypt's military rulers said on Wednesday that the country's first presidential elections since the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak will be held by November at the latest.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said that presidential elections will take place one or two months after September's parliamentary contests.

The news came on the sidelines of the announcement of a new 62-article interim constitution to replace the one suspended after the fall of Mubarak's regime on Feb. 11 in a popular uprising.

Among its articles, the interim constitutions orders the new president to appoint a vice president within 60 days of the election, in contrast to Mubarak's nearly three decade rule almost entirely without one until its last days.

Another article stipulates the creation of a committee of 100 legal experts, academics, politicians and professionals to be selected by the newly elected parliament to draft a new constitution, which would then be approved by a referendum.

Despite demands by many of the youth groups behind the 18-day uprising, the new parliament will keep a 50 percent quota of seats allocated to "farmers and workers," a holdover from the country's socialist past.

The interim constitution keeps many other the elements of the old regime disputed by reformists, including Article 2, which makes Islam the state religion and Islamic law the main source of legislation.

Article 4, however, bans political parties based on religious grounds.

Incomplete revolution?
Egypt's politics have been transformed since Mubarak's ouster but the prospect of elections may put remnants of his ruling party and an established Islamist group in the driving seat for now.

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Torn between the desire for stability and a full purge of the system which could extend turmoil that has cost the economy billions of dollars, many Egyptians have opted for the former.

That was what a referendum held on March 19 suggested when 77 percent of the voters backed constitutional amendments drawn up by a committee appointed by Egypt's ruling military council.

More radical reformers, including youth groups who led the uprising that erupted on Jan. 25, wanted a 'No' vote and an entirely new constitution. For them, the revolution is still incomplete.

But the mere fact Egyptians took part in a vote in which the result was not a foregone conclusion before polling stations opened is testimony to Egypt's transformation from the 30 years of Mubarak's rigged voting, police repression and corruption.

"There is no doubt there have been major developments like changes in the constitution, a new law for political parties, freedom of expression has been granted but still more needs to be done," said political scientist Mustapha al-Sayyid.

"The outcome of the revolution will appear after elections. We will see if the people behind the revolution succeeded in reaching power to do what they want, or if it is remnants of the former regime, or if Islamists take power," said Sayyid.

Youth groups and other protest movements which had drawn millions of Egyptians onto the streets, often using the Web and social media to mobilize, now have little time before the September parliamentary election to turn themselves into more formal political parties.

The Muslim Brotherhood, with a broad base despite decades of repression under Mubarak, is best placed to capitalize. Remnants of Mubarak's old party network of notables in rural areas, local council officers and business executives are also well placed.

Seeking to assuage fears, the Brotherhood has said it will not seek a parliament majority this time or run for president.

"So far, the revolution is definitely incomplete. It has only accomplished 10 percent of its demands," Sayyid Abu El Ela from the January 25 Youth Revolutionaries told Reuters.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: Farewell Friday

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  1. Anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in Cairo on Feb. 11. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Egyptians set off fireworks as they celebrate in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after President Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military. (Khalil Hamra / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. President Barack Obama makes a statement on the resignation of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in the Grand Foyer at the White House in Washington D.C. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Egyptians celebrate in Tahrir Square after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military on Friday. Egypt exploded with joy, tears, and relief after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak with a momentous march on his palaces and state TV. Mubarak, who until the end seemed unable to grasp the depth of resentment over his three decades of authoritarian rule, finally resigned Friday. (Khalil Hamra / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Protesters walk over a barricade after it was taken down to allow free entry to hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in Tahrir Square in Cairo February 11, 2011. A furious wave of protest finally swept Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak from power, sending a warning to autocrats across the Arab world and beyond. (Yannis Behrakis / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A spokesman for Egypt's higher military council reads a statement titled “Communiqué No. 3” in this video still on Friday. Egypt's higher military council said it would announce measures for a transitional phase after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. (Reuters Tv / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Egyptian celebrates in Cairo after the announcement of President Mubarak's resignation. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Mubarak's resignation in Cairo on Friday. A furious wave of protest finally swept Mubarak from power after 30 years of one-man rule, sparking jubilation in the streets. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. An Egyptian reacts in the street after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military in Cairo, Egypt, on Friday, Feb. 11. (Amr Nabil / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Thousands of Egyptian anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation on Friday. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Egyptian soldiers celebrate with anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square on Friday. Cairo's streets exploded in joy when Mubarak stepped down after three-decades of autocratic rule and handed power to a junta of senior military commanders. (Marco Longari / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in Cairo on Friday. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Egyptians celebrate the news of Mubarak's resignation in Tahrir Square on Friday. (Tara Todras-whitehill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An Egyptian woman cries as she celebrates the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who handed control of the country to the military, Friday night, in Tahrir Square, Cairo. (Tara Todras-whitehill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Egyptian anti-government protesters celebrate minutes after the announcement on television of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday. Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had resigned. (Khaled Elfiqi / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Opposition protesters celebrate Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak's resignation, in Tahrir Square on Friday. President Mubarak bowed to pressure from the street and resigned, handing power to the army. (Suhaib Salem / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Mubarak's resignation in Cairo on Friday. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. On Egyptian state television, Al-Masriya, Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman delivers an address announcing that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down, in Cairo on Friday. (TV via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in Cairo
    Dylan Martinez / Reuters
    Above: Slideshow (18) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - Farewell Friday
  2. Image: Protester in Tahrir Square
    Emilio Morenatti / AP
    Slideshow (61) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - Week 3
  3. Image: Egyptian anti-Mubarak protesters
    Amr Nabil / AP
    Slideshow (93) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - Week 2
  4. Image: Mohamed ElBaradei
    Khalil Hamra / AP
    Slideshow (83) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - Week 1
  5. Image:
    Mayra Beltran / AP
    Slideshow (17) Egypt's Mubarak steps down - World reacts

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