Cairo - An aide to Egypt's interim president said on Tuesday the country will never return to the corruption and authoritarianism of dictator Hosni Mubarak, deposed in a popular uprising in 2011.
Mustaf Hegazy, speaking to foreign journalists in Cairo, said: “There is no room for extremism, fascism, corruption and autocracy to return.
“There is no room for manifestations of Egypt before January 25 and June 30 to return,” he added.
That was a reference to the date three years ago this week when the uprising erupted that forced Mubarak to stand down just 18 days later.
But it was also a swipe at Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was deposed on July 3, four days after millions of people took to the streets to demand his resignation just a year after he was elected to replace Mubarak.
Following Morsi's ousting, the military-installed government cracked down on his supporters. At least 1 000 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed and thousands more have been arrested since the suppression began in August.
The government subsequently declared Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.
But the government also set out a road map to return the country to elected civilian rule. The first step was the drafting of a new constitution, which was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum last week, although the vote was boycotted by the Brotherhood and its allies.
Parliamentary and presidential elections have been promised for later this year.
Directing himself to the youth who were the backbone of the uprising against Mubarak, Hegazy said “we will protect you from terrorism, acts of violence, corruption, and not leave room for terrorists and autocrats to lead your future”.
He also insisted that the authorities had sought to include the Brotherhood in the transition, but had been snubbed.
“We have been very keen on inclusiveness,” he said. “We summoned them before... when they were not designated as terrorists. But they declined. They have been resorting to terrorist actions on the streets. They are determined to cripple Egyptian society.”
Saturday, the third anniversary of the anti-Mubarak uprising, promises to be a tense day.
The interior minister has called the new regime's backers to turn out en masse to demonstrate their rejection of Brotherhood plans to “sow chaos.”
Meanwhile, the Brotherhood has called for a march to denounce a country “in a worse state than it was before January 25, 2011”.