Egypt’s military-backed government said it would hold presidential elections before a parliamentary vote, a reversal that stands to give the next president considerable legislative authority. That next leader looks increasingly likely to be the military’s chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, who has indicated he is considering a bid for the nation’s highest office, buoyed by massive popular and political support. Few other potential candidates have emerged. Sunday’s decision changes the electoral schedule set by the military after it ousted Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, in July. The new sequence will put the nation’s next leader in a position to influence voters to back the parliamentary candidates he supports. The decision sets the stage for more clashes with the Muslim Brotherhood, the now-outlawed Islamist group from which the deposed president hailed. The Brotherhood on Sunday called for more demonstrations.
On Saturday, the anniversary of the 2011 revolt that unseated former President Hosni Mubarak, clashes between security forces and protesters led to 49 deaths and more than 250 injuries, officials said. A coalition of independent rights groups said at least 60 people were killed. Security forces arrested more than 1,000 people, officials said.
A day earlier, several bombings in Cairo, for which an al-Qaeda-inspired group claimed responsibility, killed six people and at least 12 supporters of Mr. Morsi were killed when police dispersed protesters, officials said.
Saturday’s violence exposed deepening rifts in Egypt over the military government’s “road map to democracy,” which set a path for civilian-led rule. Although they aren’t allied, Brotherhood supporters and many secular-leaning activists oppose Gen. Sisi’s growing profile.