- Middle East/North Africa
“I will never allow murder, sabotage or coups against legitimacy,” President Mohamed Morsy declared late on Thursday evening as he addressed the nation on state TV in the aftermath of bloody clashes between his backers and opponents near the presidential palace, which have left at least five dead. The president invited political players and legal experts to the presidential palace for a comprehensive meeting on Saturday to hash out a solution to the current crisis.
In his speech, Morsy promised that the prosecutor general would uncover the instigators and financiers behind this recent bout of violence, which had erupted over political disagreements that “could have been resolved through dialogue.” He alleged that, "sadly," it had been discovered that several of those arrested during the clashes had ties to political groups.
Dangerous circumstances that pose “massive danger to stability” had prompted him to issue the controversial constitutional declaration that granted him sweeping powers, Morsy continued, claiming that the decree allowed the constitution to be finished and put up to a popular referendum.
By placing the president’s decisions above judicial oversight, the declaration was not intended to deny the authority of the judiciary or deprive citizens of their right to pursue justice through the legal system, Morsy stated — rather, it was intended to protect “sovereign” decisions related to the state and national security.
However, Morsy pointed out that he understood the controversy surrounding Article 6 of the decree, which states that “The president is authorized to take any measures he sees fit in order to preserve and safeguard the revolution, national unity or national security.” He would “not insist” on keeping the article in the declaration.
Observers have criticized the article for its vague wording, potentially granting the president with unrestricted powers.