CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s President scrapped a decree that gave him extra powers and ignited violent protests, but irate opponents said on Sunday he had deepened the conflict by pressing on with a vote on a constitution shaped by Islamists.
President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist partisans have insisted the referendum go ahead on Dec. 15 to seal a democratic transition that began when a popular uprising felled Hosni Mubarak 22 months ago after three decades of one-man rule.
The retraction of Mr. Morsi’s Nov. 22 decree, announced around midnight after a “national dialogue” boycotted by almost all the president’s opponents, has failed to calm a war of words.
Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, a technocrat with Islamist leanings, said the referendum was the best test of opinion.
“The people are the makers of the future as long as they have the freedom to resort to the ballot box in a democratic, free and fair vote,” he said in a cabinet statement.
But opposition factions, uncertain of their ability to vote down the constitution against the Islamists’ organizational muscle, want the document redrafted before any vote.
Ahmed Said, a liberal leader of the main opposition National Salvation Front, said Mr. Morsi’s withdrawal of his Nov. 22 decree had not annulled its consequences, describing the race to a referendum as “shocking” and an “act of war” against Egyptians.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Egypt: Morsi kind of scraps decree but fails to appease opponents