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Nour Party never demanded Morsi's ouster: Leading figure

Despite falling out with the ruling FJP and presidency, Nour leader Ashraf Thabet says the Salafist party is not seeking the resignation of Mohamed Morsi

Dina Ezzat , Wednesday 20 Feb 2013
Ashraf Thabet
Nour Party spokesman Ashraf Thabet (Photo: AO)
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Leading member of the Salafist Nour Party, Ashraf Thabet, said Wednesday that despite the fallout with the presidency and the majority Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) his party "is not calling for the president to step down."  

Members of the party were previously quoted by several news agencies and news satellite channels as having called on President Mohamed Morsi to step down in the wake of a breach between Morsi and two of his Salafist advisors, Khaled Alam El-Din, who was sacked this week over undisclosed allegations of corruption, and Bassem El-Zarqa, who resigned in solidarity with his Salafist colleague.  

"There is no official statement from the party to this effect; individual members of the party might have their views but the fact of the matter is that we believe that if Morsi was to step down today things would be more complicated. We want to help fix the political crisis despite our disagreements with the presidency and the FJP," Thabet told Ahram Online in a telephone interview.  

According to Thabet, the initiative of the Nour Party to resolve the current political crisis proposed to the presidency last month is still up for grabs, "if the presidency is willing to pursue it."  

Thabet said his party is still working with the large anti-Morsi opposition grouping the National Salvation Front (NSF) and Strong Egypt, led by former presidential runner and ex-leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, to "draft a consensual plan for political reconciliation."

"We have been hoping to have this meeting earlier in the week; we are still working on it and we are hoping to have it soon."

Members of the NSF and Strong Egypt said they are willing to join any effort that could lead to the end of the current political crisis and allow for national reconciliation and economic resurrection.

However, the same sources added categorically that this does not amount to an approval of joining any meetings with the presidency without having a previously agreed upon agenda and clear guidelines for dialogue.  

Abul-Fotouh joined one session of a national dialogue attended by the president late last month upon the initiative of Nour but declined to join a second round, arguing that the ongoing political confrontation between the presidency and demonstrators undermine prospects for a successful dialogue.

NSF leaders, including Amr Moussa, Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabbahi, declined to join the national dialogue citing the absence of a clear commitment from the president to introduce "an efficient national unity government." NSF leaders also stated a condition that Morsi goes back on a series of controversial decisions that have prompted the anger of opposition forces, including the president's decision to appoint a new prosecutor-general without consultation with the judicary.  

Presidential and Muslim Brotherhood sources, for their part, say "it is too late for a Cabinet reshuffle in view of the upcoming parliamentary elections, which would be followed by a Cabinet reshuffle anyway."

One source added: "The president will not change the prosecutor-general and will not bow to pressure."

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