Egypt's army moves to bolster roadmap to democracy

Soldiers on duty outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo
Soldiers on duty outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Egypt's armed forces moved to strengthen the country's political transitional today by naming two new officials and issuing a defiant statement upholding the timetable for future elections.

Hazem el-Biblawi, an economist and former minister, was named as prime minister while former UN diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei was appointed vice president.

In a statement, military chief General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi insisted that all Egyptian citizens could "feel secure" in the roadmap outlined on Monday, warning that no group should "trespass against the nation’s will".

Meanwhile supporters and opponents of the nation's deposed president Mohamed Morsi continue to hold rival rallies in the capital Cairo.

ITV News' International Correspond John Irvine reports:

Whilst gatherings remained largely peaceful today, rival factions remain bitterly divided over a protest outside the Republican Guard headquarters on Monday in which 55 Morsi supporters were killed.

The Muslim Brotherhood has described the incident as a massacre and called for ongoing protests in response.

Watch: Accusations and bullets fly in Cairo amid unrest

Supporters of the ousted leader Mohamed Morse protest in Cairo
Supporters of the ousted leader Mohamed Morse protest in Cairo Credit: Reuters

A statement on the website of the US diplomatic mission in Cairo said that the embassy would close on Wednesday due to the "possibility of protests in the vicinity".

Barricades and lines of soldiers and armoured vehicles maintained a strong presence outside the Republican Guard building in Cairo today.

Women supporting the deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout at members of the Republican Guard
Women supporting the deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout at members of the Republican Guard Credit: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

A spokesperson for the Islamist Nour party - a partner in the transitional government - said it had no objections to the appointment of Mr el-Biblawi as prime minister. But he added that party officials were still considering their response to Mr ElBaradei's appointment.

Mr el-Biblawi in turn said he would offer some ministerial posts in his transitional government to members of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party.

Profile: Egypt's new prime minister Hazem el-Biblawi

Late on Monday night, Egypt's interim president Adli Mansour issued a timetable for the redrafting of the constitution and subsequent elections.

The armed forces are currently enforcing that roadmap despite protestations from the Morsi's supporters that the transition is undemocratic.

Read: Interim leader appointed in Egypt after military coup