President's chief-of-staff says 'strong minority' instigates dissent

Ahram Online, Monday 10 Dec 2012

Rifaa El-Tahtawi says ongoing movement against President Morsi and planned constitutional poll is instigated by 'strong minority' led by Mubarak-era businessmen, media figures

Chief-of-staff Rifaa El-Tahtawi

President Mohamed Morsi's chief-of-staff, Rifaa El-Tahtawi, blamed a "strong minority" for instigating ongoing protests against Egypt's draft constitution.

Speaking to CNN on Monday, Tahtawi stated that the majority of Egyptian citizens – most of whom were underprivileged – supported the elected president and his decisions.

"A number of businessmen and media figures are, in fact, a minority who have instigated the opposition protests seen over the past week," Tahtawi claimed.

Thousands-strong marches and sit-ins have converged on the presidential palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district and Tahrir Square, following President Morsi's approval of a controversial draft constitution. The proposed national charter is slated to go before a popular referendum on 15 December.     

On Saturday, Morsi confirmed that the referendum would take place as scheduled, despite large-scale protests calling for its delay or cancellation. He did, however, abrogate his 22 November decree, which shielded his decisions – along with the Constituent Assembly (which wrote the draft constitution) and Shura Council (the upper house of Egypt's parliament) – from a dissenting judiciary. 

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