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Egypt Constitutional Crisis Continues!

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi speaks during the final day of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 in New York

“Egypt’s military said on Saturday only dialogue could avert “catastrophe”, stepping into a crisis pitting Islamist President Mohamed Mursi against opponents who accuse him of grabbing excessive power…”

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and its allies have called for a controversial constitution to go ahead as planned.

They’re holding talks to end days of protests on Saturday, but opposition parties say the draft is biased and have refused to attend the dialogue.

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil told AFP news agency that President Mohamed Morsi is preparing to amend a controversial decree in which he assumed sweeping powers.

But Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, says the dialogue is not going according to plan.

“In fact, right now, the so-called ‘national dialogue’ meeting is taking place at the presidential palace,” said Tadros, adding that “notable absent are any key members of the opposition.”

Morsi called for a national dialogue urging the president to first cancel a December 15 referendum on a controversial draft constitution and rescind decreesgranting him immunity from any oversight.  The country’s main political opposition groups have boycotted the talks.

Egypt’s main Islamist parties on Saturday rejected opposition demands to delay the referendum on a new constitution they helped draft.

The coalition of 13 parties “insist that the referendum on the constitution take place on the scheduled date, with no modification or delay,” according to a joint statement read to media by the number two of the Muslim Brotherhood,
Khairat al-Shater.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s military has warned of “disastrous consequences” if the political crisis gripping the country is not resolved through dialogue.

“The path of dialogue is the best and only way to reach agreement and achieve the interests of the nation and its citizens,” said the military in a statement released on Saturday.

“The opposite of that will take us into a dark tunnel with disastrous results,” the statement added.

The military statement came as demonstrators fenced off an administrative building in Tahrir Square as anger over Morsi’s attempts to push through a new constitution continues.

It also came after the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported that Morsi would soon authorise the armed forces to help police keep order.

The capital Cairo and other cities have been rocked by violent protests since November 22, when Morsi issued a decree awarding himself sweeping powers that put him above the law.

Credit: QuestCinq and Agencies

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