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Mosri offers no meaningful concessions to opposition

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 7th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mohammed Morsi has made a conciliatory offer to his opposition, but shows no sign of backing down on his Nov. 22 decrees and plans to hold a referendum vote on Dec. 15 on a new constitution. Opposition elements are becoming more strident in their protests.

CAIRO, EGYPT (Catholic Online) - Back at work in a sealed-off presidential palace and defended by barbed wire, tanks, and troops, Mohamed Morsi invited the opposition to talks starting Saturday. However, he made no offer of concessions to them beyond the talks themselves.

Mosri catapulted himself to controversy on Nov. 22 when he awarded himself by decree powers that placed his decisions above judicial review. He then exacerbated concerns last week by scheduling a swift referendum vote on a new constitution that his opponents say did not fairly include Christians and minorities in the drafting process.

Morsi is accused of representing the Muslim Brotherhood and the party's interests while neglecting the concerns of other groups.

The result has been an increasing number of sometimes violent protests that have resulted in clashes between Morsi's opponents and supporters. Six people have died in those clashes so far.

Opponents are openly comparing Morsi to Hosni Mubarak, the ousted Egyptian dictator.

For his part, President Obama has expressed concern over the deaths of protesters and encouraged Morsi to rescind his Nov. 22 decree and to include all Egyptians in the process of drafting a new constitution.

For its part, the opposition has also demanded that Morsi rescind his decrees and cancel the planned Dec. 15 vote before sitting down to talk.

The hard-line positions of both sides suggests that Saturday's scheduled talks will bear little, if any fruit, even if the opposition does show up. Ultimately, a new civil war could erupt in Egypt if the sizable minorities groups remain disenfranchised and become better organized.

Certainly recent developments are a setback for the Arab Spring movement which has long been hailed as a harbinger of democracy for the region. Now it appears that new bosses may be the same as the old bosses and bloodshed may return as the Egyptian revolution resumes.

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