The liberal Ghad Al-Thawra Party headed by Ayman Nour said it accepts negotiations with President Mohammed Mursi on Saturday, while Egypt’s opposition coalition refused to consider dialogue if Mursi does not retract the constitutional declaration recently announced.
Egyptian politician and former presidential candidate Ayman Nour told Al Arabiya that his party will accept dialogue and will pull out if suggestions were not met.
Nour said his party will call for a new constitutional declaration and the Constituent Assembly to soon convene, advising members to be present for suggestions.
Nour’s announcement comes as the opposition coalition rejected on Friday a dialogue proposed by Mursi to defuse bloody protests over sweeping powers he assumed to speed through a new constitution.
The National Salvation Front said it had decided “to refuse to take part in a dialogue proposed by the president for tomorrow, Saturday.”
Egypt’s opposition has been demonstrating for two weeks against bolstered powers Mursi decreed for himself putting him above the law, and against a Dec. 15 referendum on a draft constitution it sees as having been railroaded through by a panel of Mursi's Islamist allies.
Prominent opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, a former U.N. atomic agency chief and Nobel peace prize winner, reiterated in a televised address late Friday that dialogue could only happen if Mursi agreed to “repeal the decree” and postpone the referendum.
“If Mursi takes these steps, I know there will be a way, through dialogue and mutual understanding, for all of Egypt, Islamic and Christian, to sit together,” ElBaradei said.
George Isaac, activist and member of the Constitution Party, told Al Arabiya Mursi had a “golden opportunity” but didn't know how to use it.
“We are listening to the street pulse today and its demand today has reached the high ceiling. We urge the president to withdraw the constitutional declaration."
The opposition sees Mursi's decree as a brazen power grab, and the draft constitution as an attempt to quash Egypt's secular underpinnings in favour of Islamic aspirations.
In the same vain, Egypt's vice-president, Mahmoud Mekki said Mursi “could accept to delay the referendum” on the draft constitution, but only if the opposition guaranteed it would launch no legal challenge to the decision.
Under Egyptian law, a president is compelled to hold a referendum two weeks after formally being delivered its text.
Mekki's suggestion implied Mursi might be seeking a way to de-escalate the crisis.
Meanwhile, around 2,000 of Mursi’s supporters gathered on Friday in front of a mosque chanting slogans for Mursi, only a few kilometers away from the opposition’s protests outside the presidential palace.
Ayman al-Sawwah, a member of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, told AFP he and his fellow demonstrators “won't go to the palace unless they (opposition) try to enter it by force.”
Protestors opposed to Mursi had made their way on Friday through wire barriers outside his palace in Cairo as others tried to climb the gate after security guards withdrew forces.
Clashes between security forces and protestors resulted in injuries amongst the Republican Army, Al Arabiya correspondent reported.
The Republican Army said it is neutral and its responsibility is to protect state institutions.