London: Egypt’s opposition has rejected an offer of compromise by President Mohammed Mursi to end the country’s crisis over a new constitution ‘as an empty show’ and called for mass protests on Tuesday.
Protestors rallied around the presidential palace, as leaders of the liberal and secular opposition to Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood set up a final showdown before Saturday’s referendum on the constitution.
According to the Telegraph, Mursi had agreed on Saturday to drop a constitutional decree giving himself powers beyond judicial scrutiny.
But he replaced it with a new one that insisted the referendum would go ahead, despite calls for a delay, the report said.
A moderate Islamist politician involved in talks with the Brotherhood over the crisis said that there would be an opportunity later to revise controversial articles of the draft constitution, which the opposition said does not guarantee basic rights, the report added.
Opposition groups have, however, refused to back down, and held a press conference on Sunday to denounce both the referendum and Mursi’s repeated constitutional decrees.
“We do not recognise the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," a statement by the opposition coalition National Salvation Front said.
"We reject the referendum which will certainly lead to more division and sedition," it added.
“The compromise was a continuation of deception in the name of law and legitimacy’’, the April 6 Movement, a left-wing group behind last year`s revolution against former president Hosni Mubarak which is part of the Front, said.
The Brotherhood is confident it has enough groundswell support to win the referendum, which will be decided on a straight majority.
According to the report, but in a sign that the government is growing concerned about unrest in the lead up to the referendum, Mursi has ordered the military to maintain security and protect state institutions until the results are announced.
If there is a ‘no’ vote in the referendum, a new 100-member constitutional assembly will have to be elected within three months, a new constitution agreed within six months and put to a referendum within a month after that, the report added.