Former President Jimmy Carter, who has voiced his opinion that military authorities in Egypt aren't likely to hand over power to a civilian government. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo
CAIRO, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Ruling military authorities in Egypt are unlikely to hand complete power over to a civilian government, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said.
Carter arrived this week in Cairo as part of an election observer mission led by his Carter Center in Atlanta. Carter, who helped broker a 1970s peace deal between Israel and Egypt, told The New York Times military leaders in Egypt envisioned a "harmonious agreement" with the country's eventual civilian leaders.
The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took control over the country after Hosni Mubarak was ousted during the country's revolution in early 2011. With Egypt in the middle of a multistage election season, Carter said it was unlikely SCAF would give up complete power to civilians.
"I don't think the SCAF is going to turn over full responsibility to the civilian government," he said. "There are going to be some privileges of the military that would probably be protected."
SCAF faced widespread criticism over the pace at which it was ushering in post-revolution reforms. Elections were originally planned for mid-2011.
Islamic political groups like the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party are dominating the emerging Egyptian political landscape. Carter said, however, there would be room for some military authority in whatever government eventually develops in Egypt.
"I think it is probably going to be inevitable, and I don't think it is going to be detrimental for the military to retain some special status," he said.