Egypt Opposition Rejects Dialogue with Morsi, Demands Reforms
A day after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency in three violence-stricken provinces, the country’s largest opposition bloc declared that it would not participate in a national dialogue called on by Morsi to discuss a unified response to the unrest. Mohamed El Baradei, a leading member of the National Salvation Front, stated Monday, ”The dialogue to which the president invited us is to do with form and not content,” echoing the sentiment among opposition members that dialogue with Morsi’s government would not produce serious compromise. National Salvation Front leaders insist that President Morsi must first name a commission to amend the country’s controversial constitution and appoint a national unity government before talks can be held. ”We support any dialogue if it has a clear agenda that can shepherd the nation to the shores of safety,” El Baradei said.
Egypt’s Salafist parties Al Nour and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya meanwhile announced their support for President Morsi’s decision to declare a state of emergency. Al Nour spokesman Nader Bakkar said the party ”has its concerns” about the president’s decision, adding ”the state of emergency should be used in the narrowest limits against those carrying illegal arms and terrorizing other citizens.” The month-long emergency decree empowers the police to investigate, arrest and detain protesters without charge.
Abdel Latif El Menawy of Al Arabiya in a new Op-Ed charges that the dream of a post-Mubarak Egypt two years ago has blinded ordinary Egyptians to the realization that Islamists co-opted the spirit of the revolution to seize power for themselves, using the political tools of state control to usurp the power of the former regime. ”Those who ruled are now in prison or in the opposition while the factions of political Islam, which constituted the main opposition bloc in the past 60 years under the leadership of its biggest group, are now in power and maintaining the tactics of the old regime,” he wrote. Similarly, Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna juxtaposes the faltering Egyptian transition to Tunisia’s and writes that the absence of consensus among Egypt’s diverse political landscape has aggravated the divisions since the revolution, as the chaos following the Port Said court case has exemplified.