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Egypt's president in national dialogue, opposition attendance feeble
President Morsi and Vice President Mekki sat down with over 40 national figures in an attempt to reach agreement following this week's intense protests against the draft constitution and Morsi's latest decree
Ahram Online, Saturday 8 Dec 2012
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An Egyptian protester takes a picture with his mobile of another in front of an Egyptian army tank outside the presidential palace, background, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 (Photo: AP)

The national dialogue between Egypt President Mohamed Morsi with public figures got underway Saturday with both side attempting to reach an agreement amid amplifying disputes over the draft constitution and Morsi's recent constitutional declaration, announced presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali.

Morsi attended briefly, along with Vice President Mahmoud Mekki, sitting down with over 40 figures. However, the majority of opposition political forces refused the president's overtures made Friday as mass protests congregated at the presidential palace.

The National Salvation Front, the main opposition group led by former presidential candidates Mohamed ElBaradei, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa, was among those who skipped the meeting.

Among those in attendance were Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, former Islamist presidential candidate Mohamed Selim El-Awa, the Salafist Nour Party chairman Emad El-Din Abdel-Gafour, founder of the Ghad El-Thawra Party Ayman Nour, the moderate Islamist Al-Wasat Party leaders Abul-Ela Madi and Essam Sultan, and Gamal Gebril, chairman of the System of Government Committee of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the constitution.

Also attending were Islamic preacher Amr Khaled, Al-Ahram columnist Fahmy Howeidy, Montasser El-Zayat, a well-known lawyer for Islamist groups in Egypt, Egypt's top publisher Ibrahim El-Moalem, and former head of the Legislative Committee of the now-dissolved People's Assembly, Mahmoud El-Khodairy.

It is not yet known if the meeting yielded any agreements.

Fierce protests broke out last week after Morsi issued a constitutional declaration 22 November that made his decisions immune to judicial challenge. Critics argue the decree puts Morsi above the law and constitutionality.

While Morsi's supporters believe that the decree enables the president to nip in the bud the manoeuvres of the former regime, including replacing Mubarak-era prosecutor general Abdel-Megid Mahmoud, anti-Morsi protesters believe the elected president betrayed democracy in favour of dictatorship.

The opposition also argues – among other criticisms – that the draft constitution, which should be put to a public referendum soon, limits many freedoms by imposing a stricter version of the Islamic Sharia law.

The presidential office announced Friday during mass protests that Morsi was willing to hold off the referendum slated for 15 December. Morsi already postponed the expat vote, which was scheduled for today.

However, the opposition insists Morsi must annul the constitutional declaration before holding any talks with him.

In the ensuing violence of the past few days, at least seven were killed and over 1000 injured. Assailants on both sides used firearms and bladed weapons.





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Mohdnor
09-12-2012 12:27pm
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Egyptian political.crisis
It is very clear now of the gulf between majority Egyptians who truly want democracy n stability and the minority secular liberal leftists who are only prepared to accept democracy if it brings them to power. Let the fight goes n c who wins. I believe the majority will eventually triumph n prevail. Tq
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7



mohammed moiduddin
09-12-2012 07:46am
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The Opposition is always Absent
Part of politics is to be part of the process and voice oppostion. The parties didn't attend Morsy's sincere efforts to help the country move forward. Since the parties didn't show up they alternative motives. I question if they are not funded by CIA or Mossad to destabilize Morsi? Why did they start when Morsy helped get peace in gaza. WHY DOESNT al ahram investigate them?? Where is objective journalism. I am an American asking about this????
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6



Nora
09-12-2012 12:29am
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united to save Egypt
May Allah saves Egypt from the evil forces that are dragging us down. We have learned a lesson in the last few days. We now know the true color of each party.
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5



Ramez Wadie
08-12-2012 11:33pm
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Mohamed ElBaradei, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa
I am just wondering if the above so called leaders have any sense of the disastrous situation Egypt is going through?! I was pro Amr Moussa whom I was considering as a wise man, but not anymore.. Whatever their views are, the most important thing now should be Egypt safety which is clear that none of the above cares about. Sit and talk.. your withdrawals signal that you are lacking the courage to face this crisis and will only pave the way to enter into the path of a civil war. It's so shameful.
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Democracia
09-12-2012 01:43pm
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WHO caused this?
Sorry but I have to ask you: WHO caused this situation? It was the President and nobody else! Don't blame other ones for his mistakes please!
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Ahmed
08-12-2012 08:36pm
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put the thugs behind bars
Morsi is so soft on the opposition. Let's put the criminal behind bars.
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3



Wasim
08-12-2012 08:18pm
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Who killed whom?
All the deads belong to MB. Did MB killed themselves. No. These are the thugs of so called civilized oposition who lost the elction and want to achieve their goal by force. They are evil and are afraid of voting. They know that they will lose.This is criminal.
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2



sheriff
08-12-2012 08:14pm
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theyre patient
the brotherhood have really demonstrated extreme patience. They're the future of egypt; if only the opposition will come to appreciate that. Thir offices are being burnt and they have not burnt the other party offices. The islamists are showing themselves to be the opposite of what the so called liberals scare people with. They've not gone about burning houses and fighting police like the hired thugs of the felool among the innocent but deceived youth of the opposition. shame on the el-Baradei: he's not shown a single trace of the democracy his type sing about.
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Field
08-12-2012 07:48pm
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Egypt
The elected president of Egypt can no longer call himself president until he takes away his decree. He has already waited too long to do this. If he does not do this immediately (today) the people will over-rule him.
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