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Morsi to relinquish expanded powers

Following a meeting with the opposition, the Egyptian president has decided to keep a constitutional referendum on schedule, but will scrap the decree that gave him sweeping powers and sparked violent nationwide protests, officials say according to Russia Today. “The constitutional decree is annulled from this moment,” said Selim al-Awa, an Islamist politician acting as spokesman of the meeting, adding that the committee recommended the removal of several articles shielding Morsi from judicial oversight and granting him powers to declare emergency laws. The statement comes after a meeting with the opposition, called by Morsi in an effort to quell the violent protests that have shaken the country for two weeks. “There is no power that would choose to prevent the people from participating in the referendum,” said Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekky. The committee made sure the referendum would be held on time, Mekky stated, adding that it could be held in several phases if the number of participating judges was insufficient. However, the majority of the discussion committee’s 54 members were Islamists as most of the country’s main opposition groups opted out, including the crucial National Salvation Front led by former presidential candidates Mohamed El Baradei, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa.

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