President Morsi tries to hold together; calls for national dialogue meeting

Ahram Online, Tuesday 23 Oct 2012

Egypt's President Morsi calls for national dialogue meeting for Wednesday, grasping to close rifts between different political and religious forces

Mohamed Morsi
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (Photo: AP)

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is scheduled to meet with representatives of political parties, national leaders and revolutionary youth forces on Wednesday, reports his spokesman, Yasser Ali. Morsi also plans to meet with a delegate from the Sunni Muslim authority, Al-Azhar, headed by its Grand Imam and attended by Coptic Church officials.

According to Ali the meeting is planned to ensure dialogue between the presidency and all influential Egyptian political forces.

On Monday, Vice President Mahmoud Mekki held a seven-hour meeting with youth representatives of political forces and held a press conference Tuesday announcing the outcome of the meeting.

Meanwhile, Saad El-Katatni, who was recently elected as chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party expressed his intention Sunday to unite with prominent political forces, such as: Hamdeen Sabbahi, Mohamed ElBaradei and Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh.

El-Katatni's invitation was received with skepticism by a number of political figures. The FJP is the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm and his post was formerly held by now President Morsi.

In an interview with privately-owned Al-Shourouk newspaper on Monday, the founder of the Egyptian Popular Current and former leftist presidential candidate, Hamdeen Sabbahi charged that the Brotherhood needs to apologise for their past mistakes before initiating any national dialogue.

"The Constituent Assembly needs to be reshaped and without that any meetings are merely PR," said Sabbahi who argued that the presidency's effort to reach out to political forces now is an attempt to make amends following clashes during protests dubbed "Accountability Friday."

On that Friday 12 October, protests that initially demanded the reformation of the Constituent Assembly to draft a more representative constitution was usurped by pro-Morsi demonstrators. The day descended into a day of clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators. The pro-Morsi protesters claim to have taken to the streets to voice their support for his policies including his failed attempt toreplace the general prsecutor.

Emad Abu-Ghazi, spokesperson of the Constitution Party – founded recently by reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei - described El-Katatni's statement as "vague."

"Yes, we do hope for a united vision among all forces for the sake of Egypt and society, but so far the Constitution Party has not received a formal invitation from the FJP," Abu-Ghazi told Ahram Online.

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