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Morsi to meet judges over power grab

26 November 2012, 09:12

Cairo - Egyptian President Mohamemd Morsi will meet senior judges on Monday to try to ease a crisis over his seizure of new powers which has set off violent protests reminiscent of last year's revolution which brought him to power.

Egypt's stock market plunged on Sunday in its first day open since Morsi issued a decree late on Thursday temporarily widening his powers and shielding his decisions from judicial review, drawing accusations he was behaving like a new dictator.

More than 500 people have been injured in clashes between police and protesters worried Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood aims to dominate the post-Hosni Mubarak era after winning Egypt's first democratic parliamentary and presidential elections this year.

One Muslim Brotherhood member was killed and 60 people were hurt on Sunday in an attack on the main office of the Brotherhood in the Egyptian Nile Delta town of Damanhour, the website of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said.

Egypt's highest judicial authority hinted at compromise to avert a further escalation, though Morsi's opponents want nothing less than the complete cancellation of a decree they see as a danger to democracy.

The Supreme Judicial Council said Morsi's decree should apply only to "sovereign matters", suggesting it did not reject the declaration outright, and called on judges and prosecutors, some of whom began a strike on Sunday, to return to work.

Morsi would meet the council on Monday, state media said.

Morsi's office repeated assurances that the measures would be temporary, and said he wanted dialogue with political groups to find "common ground" over what should go in Egypt's constitution, one of the issues at the heart of the crisis.

Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University, saw an effort by the presidency and judiciary to resolve the crisis, but added their statements were "vague". "The situation is heading towards more trouble," he said.

- Reuters


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