CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s opposition coalition blamed President Mohamed Mursi for violence outside his palace on Wednesday and said it was ready for dialogue if the Islamist leader scrapped a decree that gave him extraordinary powers.
Clashes erupted after the Muslim Brotherhood, the group that helped Mursi win a presidential election in June, told its supporters to go to the palace where opponents were protesting against the president’s powers and against a draft constitution that they say is biased.
“Today what is happening in the Egyptian street, polarization and division, is something that could and is actually drawing us to violence and could draw us to something worse,” said opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei.
“We hold President Mursi and his government completely responsible for the violence that is happening in Egypt today,” said ElBaradei, coordinator of the National Salvation Front alliance.
Protests began after Mursi issued a decree on November 22 that expanded his powers. He fuelled opposition anger further by racing through approval of a draft constitution, drawn up by an Islamist-led assembly, for a referendum set for December 15.
“Our opinion was, and still is, that we are ready for dialogue if the constitutional decree is cancelled ... and the referendum on this constitution is postponed,” ElBaradei said.
He said Mursi should appear on television to say he accepts the “foundations of dialogue”
Another opposition politician Hamdeen Sabahy told that news conference, attended by senior figures in the alliance, that Mursi had lost his “moral legitimacy”. He added that Mursi was “pushing Egypt towards division that may lead to civil conflict.”
Reporting by Tom Perry and Edmund Blair; Editing by Alistair Lyon and Jon Hemming