Egypt army seeks 6-month handover, Mubarak ailing

Egypt’s military said on Tuesday it hoped to hand over to an elected government in six months, while the Muslim Brotherhood said emergency law should be lifted and political prisoners freed now.

Rumors swirled about Hosni Mubarak’s health. Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper said it was deteriorating and the deposed president had refused to go abroad for treatment.

A military source said Mubarak, 82, believed to be in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, was “breathing.” Another Egyptian source with links to the family said he was unwell.

But a source who said he spoke to Mubarak on Tuesday described him as “fine” and receiving telephone calls.

The military’s remarks on the transition, carried by the state news agency, were the clearest sign since Mubarak quit on Friday that the generals are committed to a swift time frame for fulfilling their promises of elections and democracy.

But the Islamist Brotherhood, echoing the demands of pro-democracy activists and reformists, said it wanted the military to carry out further steps immediately.

“We, together with the entire nation … are in need of a bridge of confidence between the army and the people,” Essam al-Erian, a senior Brotherhood member, told Reuters, referring to lifting emergency law and releasing political prisoners.