CAIRO - Islamist groups have boycotted a planned rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday, December 23, to protest army rule and press for a swifter handover of power to a civilian authority.
"We support calm and acceleration of the democratic process," the Muslim Brotherhood said in a statement.
"This is the only safe way to transfer power from the military council to an elected civilian authority and achieve stability in the country."
Activists have called for a mass rally in Tahrir Square on Friday to press for a swifter power transfer to a civilian authority following deadly clashes with army troops, which left 15 people dead.
But the Brotherhood, whose party is leading Egypt's parliamentary elections, said any change in the power handover timetable would wreck havoc in the country.
"Our position from calls for advancing the date of presidential elections is that we back shortening the transition period and transfer power to an elected civilian authorityâ¦after establishing constitutional institutions that are able to assume power."
Essam el-Erian, deputy head of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), said his group backed the army timetable to hand power to an elected president by July.
"I think that is better than arranging it as soon as possible because this may create chaos," he told Reuters.
He said holding a presidential vote before both houses of parliament were elected and able to draw up a new constitution risked handing too much power to a new president.
"We are not going to create a new Mubarak," he said.
Elections to both houses will not be completed until March.
Recipe for Chaos
Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) also rejected calls for a mass rally against the army on Friday.
"We believe that the real goal of this protest is to clash with the army and push the country into collapse," the group said in a statement.
"This only serves goals of the nation's enemies, who are keen to wreck havoc and abort efforts to build the country's legislative and executive institutions."
The Islamist group blamed the army and police for using excessive force against protestors.
"But we also condemn protestors, whose practices amounted to thuggery such as barring the premier and ministers from entering the cabinet premises, provoking the army and burning out public institutions."
The group called on the Egyptians to fulfil their aspirations "through the ballot box, not through demonstrations".
"We are against provocative demonstrations and rival protests, which only deepen divisions among the Egyptian people."
The Salafist group also called on protestors to withdraw from the Tahrir Square "to help the army deal with thuggers"."We call for implementing the roadmap to hand over power to an elected civilian authority."