If there’s a military coup how will the Islamists respond? Could get ugly.

(Reuters) – President Mohamed Mursi rebuffed an army ultimatum to force a resolution to Egypt’s political crisis, saying on Tuesday that he had not been consulted and would pursue his own plans for national reconciliation.

But the Islamist leader looked increasingly isolated, with ministers resigning, the liberal opposition refusing to talk to him and the armed forces, backed by millions of protesters in the street, giving him until Wednesday to agree to share power.

Newspapers across the political spectrum saw the army’s 48-hour deadline as a turning point. “Last 48 hours of Muslim Brotherhood rule,” the opposition daily El Watan declared. “Egypt awaits the army,” said the state-owned El Akhbar.

The confrontation has pushed the most populous Arab nation closer to the brink amid a deepening economic crisis two years after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, raising concern in Washington, Europe and neighbouring Israel.

Senior members of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood used the word “coup” to describe the military ultimatum, backed by a threat that the generals will otherwise impose their own road map for the nation.

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