First Published: 2013-03-14

 

Egypt's Mussa ups the ante on Islamist government

 

Former Arab League chief says opposition is more determined than ever to boycott parliamentary elections.

 

Middle East Online

By Samer al-Atrush - CAIRO

Morsi insists it is for the new parliament to choose a new administration

The Egyptian opposition is more determined than ever to boycott parliamentary elections after Islamist President Mohamed Morsi challenged a court decision delaying the polls, former Arab League chief Amr Mussa said on Thursday.

In an interview with AFP, Mussa said there had been no "serious talks" with the president on the opposition's core demand for a government of national unity despite the impact of the political deadlock on Egypt's faltering economy.

The opposition has come under strong US pressure to take part in the elections, which had been scheduled for next month, and Mussa said it might have done so had the president accepted the delay ordered by the court.

"We would have gained some time to talk about the points we are raising, and to give the government time to reconsider," he said.

The president's appeal "does reverse the situation," he said, "bringing it back to the tension around the election."

Morsi lodged the appeal on Wednesday against the March 6 court order cancelling his calling of the election, arguing he had acted within his sovereign powers when he set the timetable. The court has yet to give its ruling.

Mussa heads the National Salvation Front along with former UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei and leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi, who like Mussa ran against Morsi for the presidency last June.

The opposition bloc is demanding a national unity government ahead of any vote. Morsi insists it is for the new parliament to choose a new administration.

"There has to be a unity government to face the situation, and take responsibility -- collective responsibility, national responsibility," Mussa said of the country's teetering economy.

Morsi has faced persistent unrest in several cities. Clashes between protesters and police regularly close down a major Cairo thoroughfare near Tahrir Square, the hub of protests that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.

In the Suez Canal city of Port Said, the government has lost much of its authority after deadly riots forced Morsi to call in the military and withdraw police from their headquarters.

"This is the result of anger and frustration and the absence of the government itself," Mussa said.

"There is nothing for those people, young or old, to say: 'ah, now there is a good line of policy, let us see.' There is nothing of that kind," Mussa said, speaking in English.

"What I hear from people is... there is nothing that has changed. People say that is exactly what the revolution is about -- the poverty situation, the services situation."

 

Iraq Kurds start voting in historic independence referendum

Erdogan threatens Iraqi Kurds with border closure, oil block

US-led strikes killed 84 civilians near Syria's Raqa

Iran shuts border with Iraqi Kurdistan

Dubai set to become first city with flying taxis

UAE announces plans for region’s first nuclear reactor

Putin to visit Erdogan this week for Syria, Iraq talks

Sudan vows to step up efforts to improve US ties

Turkey to launch intervention into Syria — and maybe into Iraq

Egyptian ‘world’s heaviest woman’ dies in Abu Dhabi

Palestinian unity government remains unlikely

Emirati man fights his employer to serve in country’s army

Palestinian PM to visit Gaza next week

Saudi advisory body to tackle female driving ban

Turkey denies closing Iraqi border in response to Kurdish vote

US air strikes kill 17 Islamic State militants in Libya

Yemen's Hadi says military solution 'most likely'

The high cost of Syria’s destruction

Palestinian negotiator awaits lung transplant in US

Kurds ready for contentious vote in Iraq

A Kurdish state: Reality or utopia?

Saudi intercepts missile fired from Yemen

Saudi Arabia marks national day with fireworks, concerts

Iran defies US, tests missile

Turkey warns of 'security' steps in response to Iraqi Kurd vote

Barzani delays Kurdish independence vote announcement

Syria's war off the radar at UN assembly

For many Iraqis, tradition trumps police

Darfur clashes kill 3 as Bashir urges reconciliation

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made

Syria Kurds vote to cement federal push

Police charge teenager over London Underground attack

Nigerian official to meet Turkish counterpart over illegal guns

Thousands feared trapped in Raqa as IS mounts last stand

Iraqi forces achieve first step in new offensive on IS

Migrant boat sinks off Turkish Black Sea coast leaving four dead, 20 missing

Trump praises 'friend' Erdogan

Yemen leader promises UN to open entire country to aid

Rouhani vows Iran will boost missiles despite US criticism

Russia clashes with EU over Syria

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

UN sets up probe of IS war crimes in Iraq