Morsi Annuls Controversial Decree, Will Hold Referendum on Time

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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Opposition leaders demanded it be rescinded and the referendum be scrapped before they entered into any dialogue with Morsi to calm a crisis which exploded into street clashes this week that left seven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.

Comments 9
Thumb beiruti 08 December 2012, 22:20

This is a country in transition. It is a sign of the new opening created by the Arab Thaw, that the Egyptian people, as yet unrepresented in the Egyptian Parliament could have their voices nevertheless heard from the street by those in power.
However, it is also a sign that the transition to democracy has not yet happened in that the Islamist Parties, making resort to the use of force available to those in power to silence the opposition.
The Rule of Law has not yet dawned. No government officer has the right to resort to force to resolve a political dispute, yet, the Islamists see that they still have this option. When it is no longer accepted as an option, Egypt will have taken another step out of the 7th Century and towards the 21st.

Missing canadianadam 08 December 2012, 23:29

Well said Beiruti. I think the brotherhood is the majority and would pass this constitution, and I also don't think Morsi wants to become the next dictator. It wouldn't be in their interests. However, I think they would be wise now to consult more with the liberal groups to see where they can agree.

Default-user-icon TITUS (Guest) 09 December 2012, 00:32

It seems that the extremist Islamist Brotherhood came with only one agenda and that is to turn the multi-faith Egypt into a totalitarian Islamic state the likes of the failed state of Iran which has been woefully mismanaged by the Mullah regime for three decades where the so called clerics in power there have all the rights and no one else is allowed to question their totalitarian criminal rule. I think it's time to stop the tip toing round the subject the fanatical Islamic fundementalists the likes of the Brotherhood, Hamas, Taliban, or Hezbollah belong in one of two places 6ft under or in maximum security cells serving life without parole they are the minority that want to impose their 7th century BS on a 21st century educated society through force terror and intimidation, these zombies should not be negotiated with. continued

Default-user-icon TITUS (Guest) 09 December 2012, 00:33

.. Continued.. Morsi at best, feels that he ows the presidency to the BH and so he's just a facade for their barbaric 7th century Islamic fanatical plans for the country, or at worst he's a full fledged acomplice. Either way the best way forward for Egypt is for the majority of the Egyptian people to make sure he steps down and as soon as possible before he tries of enshrine his warped 7th century ideology into the constitution of this democracy in the making.

Default-user-icon The Truth (Guest) 09 December 2012, 02:31

Democracy at work: president backs down to popular demand, meanwhile in Syria: president destroys the whole country to keep power.

Thumb LebDino 09 December 2012, 04:56

But that "new" constitution written by the islamists must also be annulled and re-written with everyone in mind.

Default-user-icon Tarek (Guest) 09 December 2012, 06:12

At the end of the day,if they are to get along,they have to separate religion from Governance. I know that at this stage, this is aksing too much from a country like Egypt. But, at least there should be a constituion where there is total equality for everyone under the law without having to abide by a religious law or religious believe of any kind. If the Islamist want to sharia law to be applied to them, they can have it as a family law without having it enshrined in the constitution. Otherwise, trouble is waiting for everyone.

Missing realist 09 December 2012, 10:56

The days of totalitarianism are gone. What is happening in egypt is a healthy sign of this fact. Of course the transition will be long and bumpy before reaching equilibrium

Missing whyaskwhy 09 December 2012, 13:23

I cannot see the relgious zealots letting go of any power in the Middle East. They will claw and skin their flints to the last person before they realise they are doomed to fail.