CAIRO - Raising expectations of a looming military coup, Egypt's powerful armed forces issued a virtual ultimatum on Monday, July 1, giving rival politicians 48 hours to resolve the country's standoff.
"Everyone rejects the statement of the armed forces," Yasser Hamza, a member of the FJP's legal committee, told Al Jazeera, Reuters reported.
"Solutions will be in the framework of the constitution.
"The age of military coups is over," he added.
Hamza's anger followed a statement read out by the armed forces spokesman on state Television on Monday.
In the statement, the armed forces reiterated its "call that the demands of the people be met and gives (all parties) 48 hours, as a last chance, to take responsibility for the historic circumstances the country is going through."
"If the demands of the people are not met in this period... (the armed forces) will announce a future roadmap and measures to oversee its implementation," the statement said.In Tahrir Square, anti-Morsi protesters erupted in joy after the army's statement.
"Come down Sisi, Morsi is not my president," the protesters chanted, urging the country's army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to intervene.
The statement was also welcomed by Egyptian opposition including Former Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa and Mahmoud Badr, of the "Tamarud - Rebel!" coalition which brought millions out to demand President Mohamed Morsi resign.
"Wasting more time will make things worse," Moussa, a liberal politician and former foreign minister, said in a statement.
The invitation to meet the demands of the people within the next few hours is a historical opportunity which should not be lost.
Badr, of "Tamarud, had a similar opinion.
"The statement of the armed forces has a single idea - supporting the will of the Egyptian people at this moment, which means early presidential elections," he told a televised news conference.
Some analysts opined that the military intervention could serve Morsi if he wished to compromise.
The ultimatum has the ring of a potential coup, Yasser al-Shimy of the International Crisis Group think-tank, told Reuters.
What makes it not a coup is it gives time for the politicians to sort out their differences.
Others, however, saw it as a clear ultimatum directed to President Morsi.
"It's an ultimatum directed to the president of the republic," said Hassan Nafea, political science professor at Cairo University.
He has been given 48 hours to accept what the people want and there is only one demand and that is to hold early presidential elections, he added.
The statement comes a day after millions took to the streets either opposinig or supporting Morsi.Though protest started peacefully, violent clashes erupted later leading to the death of at least 16 people, according to an Egyptian Health Ministry statement.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), comprising 21 senior military figures led by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, ruled Egypt after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 until President Mohamed Morsi took office in June 2012.
The SCAF was criticized during its period of rule for failing to implement the demands of revolutionaries.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net