Morsi Annuls Controversial Decree, Will Hold Referendum on Timeإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday annulled a decree he issued last month expanding his powers, an official told a Cairo news conference.
"The constitutional decree is annulled from this moment," said Selim al-Awa, an Islamist politician acting as spokesman of a meeting Morsi held earlier with other political leaders.
A referendum on a draft constitution would however still go ahead as planned on December 15, Awa said, explaining that constitutionally Morsi was unable to change the date.
The two issues -- the decree and the referendum -- were at the heart of anti-Morsi protests that have rocked Egypt in the past two weeks.
The controversial decree issued November 22 had put Morsi's decisions beyond judicial review -- a high-handed measure fiercely denounced as dictatorial by the opposition.
Opposition leaders demanded it be rescinded and the referendum be scrapped before they entered into any dialogue with Morsi to calm a crisis which exploded into street clashes this week that left seven people dead and hundreds injured.
Egypt's powerful military on Saturday warned Morsi and the opposition to sit down for talks, otherwise it would take steps to prevent a "disastrous" degradation of the situation.
Meanwhile, the opposition called for daily street protests to continue against Morsi until he accedes to their demands to give up expanded powers and drop the referendum on the new draft constitution.
"We call on Egyptian youth to hold peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins in all of Egypt's squares until our demands are met," the National Rescue Front said, in a statement read to media by one of its leaders, Mohamed Abu al-Ghar.
He added: "The will of the people is turning toward a general strike."
The Front's statement called on Morsi to disband organized militias, to investigate clashes between rival camps that left seven dead and hundreds injured in Cairo on Wednesday and to denounce violence between protester camps.
On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of anti-Morsi protesters gathered in front of the presidential palace for what have become nightly demonstrations.
Friday gathered more than 10,000 people, who pulled aside army barbed-wire barricades and clambered atop tanks to call loudly for Morsi to step down before they peacefully dispersed hours later.