Egypt's Morsi modifies decree limiting 'pharaohic powers' in dramatic u-turn

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 09, 2012 05:42 hrs

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has amended controversial decree in which he had assumed sweeping powers to oversee the country's political transition, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has said.

Morsi tasked six officials, who met on Saturday with elements of the opposition, to 'modify the constitutional declaration' he issued on 22 November, Qandil said on the private Al-Mihwar television channel.

"The officials, among them politicians and members of the judiciary, 'met to draft a new text [decree] and could finalise it late on Saturday or on Sunday morning'", he added.

According to news 24, Morsi also said he wished to discuss the possibility of postponing a referendum on a draft constitution that the opposition said was rushed through by a panel dominated by Islamists.

Morsi's decree of 22 November stripped the judiciary of any right to challenge his decisions and triggered violent protests on the streets of Cairo.

The new draft charter, approved by an Islamist-dominated panel, boycotted by liberals and Christians and objected to by the opposition on the grounds that it limits freedom of expression, women's rights and freedom of worship, is set for a popular referendum on 15 December, the report said.

Opposition leaders have said they will only take part in talks if the referendum is postponed and Morsi repeals his decree, the report added. (ANI)

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