Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour [BBC backgrounder] announced [Rueters report] in a televised speech on Sunday that Egypt will hold presidential elections before conducting parliamentary elections. The parliamentary elections were supposed to happen first under the timetable agreed to after Egypt's army deposed [JURIST report] Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July. Critics have argued for a change in the 'roadmap' to democracy, calling for a presidential election to take place before a potentially divisive parliamentary election. Based on a timeline in the new charter, the presidential election will be held sometime in the next 6 months. Sunday's announcement followed a day of intense political violence and a series of bombings around Cairo that killed at least 49 people and wounded hundreds, marking the third anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder].
Egypt has dealt with political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution began, and anti-government protesters and supporters of the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood continue to fight the military backed government for political control in the country. In the last six weeks, the Egyptian government made a major step in governmental reform through the drafting of a new constitution, which was ratified [JURIST report] by 98% of voters on January 19. Egyptians voted [JURIST report] on the new military-backed constitution on January 16, with news reports citing a 42% voter turnout rate coupled with serious irregularities in the voting records. The Egypt assembly finalized [JURIST report] the constitution on December 2.