Last updated: 27 June, 2013

Egyptian opposition rejects dialogue with Morsi

Egypt’s main opposition coalition Thursday rejected an offer from President Mohamed Morsi for dialogue, repeating its call for early presidential elections and calling for peaceful demonstrations on June 30.

Mohamed ElBaradei, who leads the opposition National Salvation Front, said at a news conference Morsi’s speech on Wednesday was “the opposite of a clear admission that the difficult situation that Egypt is going through is the result of his failure to administer the affairs of the country that he took charge of one year ago”.

In a televised speech, Morsi called for reforms and dialogue, while warning that political divisions in the country threatened to “paralyse” Egypt.

ElBaradei, who also heads the liberal Al-Dustur party, read from an NSF statement saying that the opposition “remained determined to call for an early presidential election to bring about the objectives of the revolution, with social justice foremost among them”.

“We are confident the Egyptian people will come out in their millions to hold peaceful demonstrations on all of Egypt’s squares and streets to realise their aspirations and to put the January 25 revolution back on track,” he added.

Egyptians rose up in January 2011 to overthrow veteran president Hosni Mubarak.

The NSF statement also said that Morsi was responsible for divisions in the country.

Egypt is deeply divided between Morsi supporters, who believe he is restarting institutions after decades of corruption, and his critics, who accuse him of massing power for the Muslim Brotherhood from which he hails.

The call for the June 30 protests was launched by Tamarod (Arabic for Rebellion), a grassroots movement launched in April seeking to withdraw confidence from Morsi.

Capitalising on low spirits caused by a severe economic crisis, including fuel shortages, power cuts and soaring inflation, it collected more than 15 million signatures calling for early presidential elections.

Several opposition parties and groups back the calls, while several Islamist parties have called for an “ongoing” demonstration from Friday in support of Morsi’s “legitimacy”.

Coming just two days before the opposition’s planned June 30 demonstration, it has sparked concerns of the political situation worsening and the possibility of more violence.