Friday, December 7, 2012
Opposition rejects call by Morsi to dialogue as empty gesture
Anti Morsi graffiti near the presidential palace. (Aswat Masriyya)
Egypt President Mohamed Morsi has invited all political forces to hold dialogue in an effort to put an end to the ongoing dispute over his 22 November constitutional declaration and draft constitution, stressing that the latter would be put before a popular referendum on 15 December as planned.
"I call on everyone to hold dialogue on 8 December in an effort to work things out with love, the rule of law and determination," he said Thursday in a televised address.
"I will meet with legal experts and opposition figures on Saturday at 12:30 [local time] at the presidential headquarters to come up with a solution to save the nation; some decisions will be discussed, such as maintaining the Shura Council [the upper, consultative house of Egypt's parliament]."
He added: "We shall also discuss the post-referendum roadmap, whether the people reject or approve it .. If the constitution is rejected, I will see to it that a new constituent assembly is drawn up."
Spokesmen for the National Salvation Front, however, said they will not attend. Abdallah al-Sennawy, mouthpiece of the Arab Nasserist Party and chief editor of the party's Al-Arabi newspaper, said “Morsi’s invitation for dialogue will not be accepted by civil forces. The constitutional declaration is still in place, the referendum will be held as scheduled," he said. “We will not attend the Saturday meeting," Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, chairman of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and a member of the front, told Egypt Independent. “This is a mockery of the demands.
In a statement released prior to the speech the Front had stated that it demands that the declaration be cancelled, that the constitutional referendum will be postponed and that members of the Muslim Brotherhood be investigated for assaults on secular activists, and for massive demonstrations on Friday to voice those demands under the motto “the Red Card."
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have arrested 83 protesters of the opposition ad turned them over to the police. The Brotherhood accused them of being hired thugs. In his speech Morsi repeated this accusation. Ati-Morsi protesters attacked several offices of the Muslim Brotherhood. The headquarters of the Brotherhood in the Moqattam area of Cairo was set on fire. Clashes erupted near the MB-offices in Cairo's Ma'adi-quarter ad in Kafr al-Sheikh.