A young protester chants anti-government slogans during demonstrations inside Tahrir Square in Cairo
A young protester chants anti-government slogans during demonstrations inside Tahrir Square in Cairo February 7, 2011. REUTERS

In the first step towards a post-Hosni Mubarak era in Egypt, the country’s military brass said on state TV they are dissolving the parliament (which was dominated by Mubarak’s supporters) and suspending the constitution.

The army assured that it will establish a committee to draft a new constitution, before putting it to a popular referendum. The prior constitution made it difficult, if not impossible, for candidates who did not belong to Mubarak’s National Democratic Party to run in elections.

The military council also said it will remain in power for six months, or until elections are held – suggesting elections might be held in late summer, rather than September as earlier understood.

Meanwhile, the army is trying to clear Tahrir Square in Cairo, the epicenter of more than two weeks of continuous anti-Mubarak protests. There were reports of skirmishes between soldiers and demonstrators.

While many opposition figures might be uneasy about military rule for six months, one leading opposition politician Ayman Nour (who ran against Mubarak for president in 2005) described the army’s decisions as a victory for the revolution, Reuters reported.

In addition, three former Mubarak cronies -- former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli and current Information Minister Anas al-Fekky – have been placed under investigation and forbidden to travel.

Egypt currently has no president, but Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq declared he will restore order and security.

Our main concern now as a cabinet is security - we need to bring back a sense of security to the Egyptian citizen,” he told a news conference.

Parallel to that we also want to ensure that the daily life of all Egyptians goes back to normal and that basic needs like bread and healthcare are available.

The army earlier promised that all existing international treaties would be honored – suggesting the peace deal with Israel would not be vacated.