A guide to Egypt's pre-election turmoil

Associated Press Modified: May 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm •  Published: May 2, 2012

Many fear that no matter who wins, the military's goal is to retain its privileged position and a degree of say in politics, even after it formally hands over power.

Tensions have been growing between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, which has become Egypt's strongest political movement in the post-Mubarak transition. The Brotherhood has been frustrated that its control of nearly half of parliament has not translated into real political power. So it has stepped up demands that the generals remove the military-appointed prime minister and let the Brotherhood form a government. The generals have refused. The Brotherhood's moves have prompted a backlash in some quarters, including among some who backed it in parliament elections late last year but now accuse it of a power grab that endangers the transition.

The power struggle boils down to three main groups. There is the Muslim Brotherhood, already dominating parliament and seeking the presidency as well. There is the military, which may be trying to ensure a candidate amenable to its aims holds the presidency. And finally, there are liberal, leftist and secular groups, which drove last year's uprising but have not made strong showings in elections so far. They — and even some Islamists — are concerned about the Brotherhood gaining too much power but also do not want to see the generals keep their authority.

Q: What happens now?

A: A number of groups are now moving to join the protesters outside the Defense Ministry. The Muslim Brotherhood and other parties have called for a mass protest on Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand the generals abide by promises to hand over power.

The short presidential election campaign could see turbulent protests on top of the political maneuvering.

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