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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid