Morsi annuls controversial decree
Added Date: 12/9/2012 8:04:18 AM
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Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday annulled a decree he issued last month expanding his powers, an official told a Cairo news conference.

"The constitutional decree is annulled from this moment," said Selim al-Awa, a politician acting as spokesman of a meeting Morsi held earlier with other political leaders.

A referendum on a draft constitution would however still go ahead as planned on December 15, Awa said, explaining that constitutionally Morsi was unable to change the date.

The two issues -- the decree and the referendum -- were at the heart of anti-Morsi protests that have rocked Egypt in the past two weeks.

The controversial decree issued November 22 had put Morsi's decisions beyond judicial review -- a high-handed measure fiercely denounced as dictatorial by the opposition.

Opposition leaders demanded it be rescinded and the referendum be scrapped before they entered into any dialogue with Morsi to calm a crisis which exploded into street clashes this week that left seven people dead and hundreds injured.

Egypt's powerful military on Saturday warned Morsi and the opposition to sit down for talks, otherwise it would take steps to prevent a "disastrous" degradation of the situation.

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