Morsi offers consensus gov’t as army deadline passes

Agence France-Presse
(2nd UPDATE) Egypt President Mohamed Morsi offers a consensus government as a way out of crisis

TAMAROD. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators gather outside the presidential palace in Cairo during a protest calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi on June 30. File photo by AFP /Mahmud Khaled

CAIRO, Egypt (2nd UPDATE) – President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday, July 3, proposed a “consensus government” as a way out of Egypt’s crisis, as tens of thousands of political rivals took to the streets and an army deadline urging him to meet the people’s demands expired.

“The presidency envisions the formation of a consensus coalition government to oversee the next parliamentary election,” Morsi’s office said in a statement on Facebook.

Despite the expiry of the deadline, the army was yet to announce its next move.

Tens of thousands of people continued to protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for an anti-Morsi protest that dwarfed a rally by the embattled Islamist leader’s supporters in Nasr City, on the opposite side of the capital.

“Come here O Sisi, Morsi isn’t my president,” the flag-waving protesters chanted in the square, referring to army chief and defense minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

In scorching heat, police officers handed out bottles of water to the demonstrators crammed around their patrol vehicle in the middle of Tahrir, epicenter of the 2011 revolution that ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The powerful military issued a 48-hour deadline on Monday, July 1, for Morsi to meet the “people’s demands,” a day after millions of protesters took to the streets across the troubled country calling for him to resign.

Thousands of people were also gathered in Nasr City in a show of support for Morsi, despite an attack by a group of men that killed 16 of them and left 200 injured overnight.

That spate of bloodletting took to almost 50 the number of people killed in Egypt since the latest crisis flared a week ago ahead of Sunday’s anniversary of Morsi’s first turbulent year in power.

The interior ministry warned police would respond firmly to any further violence on Wednesday as the armed forces took up positions around key Cairo installations, including the state broadcaster.

Opponents accuse Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, of having betrayed the 2011 revolution by concentrating power in Islamist hands and of sending the economy into freefall.

His supporters say he inherited many problems, and that he should be allowed to complete his term, which runs until 2016.  –


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