This month marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the Egyptian revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. In the days leading up to this important milestone, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi announced that the Egyptian government was taking steps to lift the state of emergency, which has been in place in Egypt almost continuously since 1958. Lifting the state of emergency has been a key demand of the protesters in Tahrir Square.
On the anniversary of the revolution, Field Marshal Tantawi announced that around 2,000 people held by the military were pardoned and would be released. Among them was blogger Maikel Nabil. Mr. Nabil was sentenced to three years in jail by a military court in April 2011 for posts critical of the military. He was released on January 24th.
In a sign that the political transition in Egypt is moving forward, the democratically-elected representatives of the People's Assembly met for the first time since Egypt's revolution on January 23, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces unambiguously transferred legislative authority to the Assembly. On its first day, the People’s Assembly selected new Speaker, Saad Katatni, of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), along with two deputy speakers.
The Freedom and Justice Party holds the largest number of seats in the lower house. After elections to the upper house are complete in March, one of the parliament's first tasks will be to select a committee that will write Egypt’s new constitution.
Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has said that it will turn over authority to an elected civilian president by the end of June.
The United States congratulates the Egyptian people and their government on these important steps toward fulfilling the promise of Egypt's revolution, which has inspired the world. The United States will continue to stand with the Egyptian people and those across the region, as they defend universal values and work toward a better future for all Egyptians.