Egypt opposition ready to talk with Morsi after constitutional debacle
Egypt’s main opposition, the National Salvation Front, said on Thursday that it is willing to engage in a national dialogue with President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood if a number of conditions were met.
The front said that the dialogue over controversial constitutional laws should have a clear agenda and that its results should be announced to the people, adding that there must be a will to abide by agreements made during dialogue sessions, according to Egyptian media reports.
The front called for the formation of a committee that would “amend the contentious articles of the Constitution,” including legal experts and members from both the front and Morsi’s supporters, reported the Egypt Independent.
Morsi began a series of dialogue sessions last month, in which he invited political notables and legal experts to discuss a road map for the country which is highly divided over the newly adopted constitution.
The front rejected the president’s earlier invitations after he refused to postpone a divisive referendum on the new charter, saying that it would be “pointless” to participate in a dialogue over the constitution if Morsi insists on his stance.
Critics of the new charter say it uses vague language, fails to enshrine the rights of women and minorities and does little to champion the rights of Egyptians who rose up last year to overthrow army-backed strongman Hosni Mubarak.
Divisions over the new constitution resulted in bloody clashes throughout the past month, as the country underwent one of its worst political crises since President Morsi came into power.
A probe was initiated in December against the Front’s main leaders, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and leftist Hamdeen Sabahy, over charges that the three had incited supporters to rise up and overthrow Mursi, the country’s first elected leader.
The opposition saw the step as an attempt to intimidate them and vowed to continue protests.
Supporters of the new constitution said it protects personal rights that were often trampled upon during the Mubarak era and the subsequent spell of army rule.