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

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid