News / Middle East

Egyptian President Preparing to Amend Flashpoint Decree

Protesters Want Morsi to Step Downi
|| 0:00:00
X
Japhet Weeks
December 09, 2012 7:37 PM
Opponents of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi have been rallying near the Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo. Protesters pushed their way past Republican Guard soldiers deployed on the perimeter of the presidential palace Friday night. Reporting for VOA, Japhet Weeks was in front of the palace with protesters including Bassel Fouad, who climbed over a wall to get there.

Related Video by Japhet Weeks

Edward Yeranian
Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said Saturday that President Mohamed Morsi is preparing to amend a controversial decree that gave the president sweeping powers, in a push to defuse political tensions and deadly violence gripping the country.

Speaking on an Egyptian television, Hisham Qandil said a freshly appointed committee was drafting a new decree that could be approved by early Sunday.

Qandil said the president also wanted talks with elements of the opposition on the possibility of postponing a December 15 referendum on a controversial draft constitution.  No other details were provided.

The November 22 emergency decree and the draft constitution days later sparked days of violent protest in Cairo and elsewhere in the country.  The president said earlier this week that at least seven people had been killed and hundreds of other injured in the demonstrations. 

Mohamed Morsi's November 22 Declaration

  • Reopens investigations into killings of protesters
  • Makes decrees issued by Morsi since he took office final and not open to appeal
  • Allows Morsi to appoint prosecutor-general
  • Gives Constituent Assembly two extra months to draft a constitution
  • Says no judicial body can dissolve the upper house of parliament or the Constituent Assembly

Earlier Saturday, Egypt's top opposition leaders boycotted a national dialogue meeting at the presidential palace Saturday, despite appeals by the country's military to resolve the latest tensions at the negotiating table. 

An Egyptian military spokesman warned political leaders, in a statement read on state television, that the country was “heading towards a dark tunnel,” unless they sat down and solved their differences. “Dialogue,” he said, “is the best and only way to reach consensus.”

The military ruled the country following the ouster of former leader Hosni Mubarak in Feb. 2011, until Islamist Mohamed Morsi was elected president in June of this year. The army spokesman also indicated that the armed forces understand their duty to “protect vital public buildings and installations and the interests of [the people].”

Both state television and the government-owned al Ahram online warned that Morsi would soon issue a decree to reimpose martial law. Egypt had been under martial law for most of the period since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.

The president issued a constitutional decree several weeks ago giving him sweeping powers until the approval of a new draft constitution, set for a referendum on Dec. 15. Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei called Morsi's refusal to compromise over that constitution “a disaster.”

A rump committee of mostly Islamists approved the draft document in a marathon overnight session one week ago Friday. Secular, leftist and Christian members of the body pulled out before the document was approved, expressing anger over Islamist domination of the body.

Despite widespread public anger over the president's moves, life appeared to be mostly normal in the capital Saturday. Street vendors hawked bread, beans and tea along the broad and mostly empty expanse of Cairo's Tahrir Square, as popular protests diminished in intensity.

Several hundred demonstrators congregated behind a barrier of barbed wire and concrete blocks near the presidential palace as well. Inside the building, a group of mostly Islamist leaders and one opposition figure met for talks with Morsi. Leaders of the main National Salvation Front boycotted the meeting.

Those leaders insist that they will not negotiate with the president until he revokes a decree giving himself sweeping powers and cancels the Dec. 15 referendum on the controversial new constitution. A referendum of Egyptians living abroad set for Saturday was postponed.

Ordinary citizens complained about the paralysis of daily life, and the slow-down of state services, including the judiciary, which remains on strike. One middle-aged man complained that opposition protesters were blocking Cairo's main administrative building, saying he can't go to work because the mostly young demonstrators have blocked off the entrance with barbed wire.

Meanwhile, Islamist leaders issued a statement Saturday, blasting the opposition for “violent protests” and “refusing to submit to the ballot box.” The spiritual guide, or murshid, of Egypt's Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group gave a press conference Saturday, calling on opponents to cease their protests and hold talks.

He said that what's taking place is not opposition, nor a difference of opinion, but is rather-as he put it-corruption, tyranny and criminality.  He blasted protesters for trying to topple the president, who he says was elected by the people, and urged the opposition to settle their conflict over the new constitution at the ballot box.

Opposition leaders, however, worry about fraud in the scheduled referendum. President Morsi has claimed in an interview with state television that 80% of the people support the new constitution. The president, however, received just 51.7% of the vote in the June run-off presidential poll.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Brad Naksuthin
December 11, 2012 8:27 AM

America needs to learn a lesson from what's happening in Egypt.

Whenever religious groups gain political power they try to impose their beliefs on EVERYONE...even those who don't worship the same God.
Religious people delude themselves into thinking they are following the teachings of Allah or God or Jehovah or a divinity they automatically apply their beliefs to EVERYONE else.

We must be vigilant to prevent something like this happening in the US.

Already Christians are trying to use political power to force their views on abortion, contraception, stem cell research, euthanasia, same sex marriage, drugs and prostitution etc. on ALL Americans...even those who do not follow their rules or believe in their God.

There is no difference between the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood and the goals of the Christian Taliban




Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid