CAIRO, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Calm returned to western Cairo's presidential palace on Saturday morning, after overnight protests by angry opponents, but Egyptian political forces are still divided over the upcoming national dialogue.
Anxiously watching the controversial constitutional declaration issued by President Mohamed Morsi and the upcoming constitutional referendum, Egyptian observers are calling for a "compromised" solution to break the current impasse.
On Nov. 22, President Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration which rules that all laws, decrees and constitutional declarations issued by the president since he came into office on June 30 are final and unchallengeable by anybody, which triggered a nationwide wave of protests and demonstrations.
Protests escalated over the past few days, even though Morsi later promised that the declaration was only "temporary" and would be withdrawn as soon as the draft constitution is approved by Egyptians in the upcoming referendum set for Dec. 15.
The opposition, headed by "National Salvation Front" which was led by former diplomat and liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, is unlikely to nod at a national dialogue backed by Morsi, said Saeed al-Lawindy, researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
Following bloody clashes between Morsi's opponents and supporters outside the presidential palace which killed six and injured over 1,000, the president delivered a speech on Thursday night and invited representatives of opposition, political parties, revolutionary youth and legal experts to a meeting at the presidential palace on Saturday.
The opposition, however, insisted to terminate the declaration and delay the referendum as precondition.
Morsi may have showed "flexibility" in his speech, but it certainly did not meet the expectations of the opposition, which adds uncertainty to the national dialogue.
Some observers, including Lawindy, believed that "whoever is absent is always not right," suggesting the opposition accept Morsi's invitation without prior conditions.
Ayman Nour, head of liberal Ghad al-Thawra (the future of revolution) party, told Xinhua that he had responded to the president's invitation to dialogue, along with three other parties: Al-Wasat, Al-Hadara and Al-Adl. He noted that the four-party initiative aims to reach a compromise between various forces.
"Dialogue is the solution for everything. We have common demands but different mechanisms to reach them," Nour told Xinhua. "We will go ahead with national dialogue and present all the demands."
Nour noted that the president had postponed the voting of Egyptians abroad on the constitutional referendum, which gives a spark of hope for compromise.
On Saturday, some opposition protestors continued sit-in in central Cairo's Tahrir square and outside the presidential palace against the constitutional referendum, while Salafist supporters of Morsi surrounded the Media Production City protesting " corrupted anti-president media."
CAIRO, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's Justice Minister Ahmed Miky said Friday that President Mohamed Morsi is "ready" to postpone the constitutional referendum scheduled for Dec. 15, if the opposition accepts dialogue without prior conditions, Al-Ahram online reported.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Election Commission decided Friday to delay the voting of Egyptians abroad on the draft constitution, from Dec. 8 to Dec. 12, upon the request of Egypt's Foreign Ministry. Full story
CAIRO, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Islamists gathered Friday evening outside a famous mosque in Nasr City, Cairo, in support of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and in response to the ongoing anti-Morsi demonstrations outside the presidential palace, official news agency MENA reported.
The pro-Morsi protesters raised signs and chanted words in support of the president, repeating "Egypt will remain Islamic," or "Go Morsi." Full story
CAIRO, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi delivered a long-waited speech on Thursday night denouncing recent bloody clashes outside the presidential palace and inviting all opposition forces to meet on Saturday for dialogue.
Morsi said in case the draft constitution is disapproved in the Dec. 15 referendum, he would call for the formation of a new constituent assembly. Full story