Cairo, Cairo University, contentious draft constitution, egypt, Hosni Mubarak, Islamist-led parliament, Libya, Middle East, Mohamud Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, opposition demonstration, politics, protesters, Salafi groups, shura council, supporters, Supreme Constitutional Court, upper house of parliament
Published December 01, 2012
Dec. 1, 2012: Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi rally in front of Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
CAIRO – Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi called Saturday for a referendum in two weeks on a contentious draft constitution, setting a date for another milestone in the country’s transition to democracy. Widespread disputes over the charter and Morsi’s recent seizure of near absolute power have marred the process and thrown the country into turmoil.
As has been the case in nearly two years since Hosni Mubarak was ousted, what should have been a cause for national celebration turned into dueling protest between opponents and supporters of how the transition has been managed– largely divided along Islamist and secular lines.
More than 100,000 Morsi supporters organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and ultraconservative Salafi groups took to the streets of Cairo and other cities a day after a massive opposition demonstration against his recent decrees giving him immunity from judicial oversight and the charter that was rushed through an assembly packed with allies.
The presidency has been locked in a tug of war with the powerful judiciary and secular and Christian activists since Morsi granted himself far-reaching powers on Nov. 22 in a bid to pre-empt an expected decision by the Supreme Constitutional Court on Sunday to dissolve the constitutional panel, as it had done the Islamist-led parliament earlier this year.