CAIRO — Egypt's Islamist president proclaimed the country's newly adopted constitution as the dawning of a "new republic" in a television address Wednesday, calling on the opposition to join a dialogue with him after a month of violent turmoil and focus on repairing a damaged economy.
Mohammed Morsi sought to present the Islamist-drafter charter as the turning of a historic page for Egypt, but his speech did little to ease the suspicions of those who fear he and his Muslim Brotherhood are entrenching their power. He offered no concrete gestures to an opposition that has so far rejected his dialogue and vowed to fight the constitution.
Instead, with a triumphalist tone, he presented the constitution, which was approved by nearly 64 percent of voters in a referendum that ended last weekend, as creating a democracy with balanced powers between branches of government and political freedoms.
"We don't want to return to an era of one opinion and fake, manufactured majorities. The maturity and consciousness (of voters) heralds that Egypt has set on a path of democracy with no return," Morsi said. "Regardless of the results, for the sake of building the nation, efforts must unite. There is no alternative to a dialogue that is now a necessity."
The opposition says the constitution allows a dictatorship of the majority — which Islamists have won with repeated election victories the past two years. It says the charter's provisions for greater implementation of Islamic law, or Shariah, would allow Islamists who hold the presidency and overwhelmingly dominate the temporary legislature to restrict civil rights and limit the freedoms of minorities and women.
- Fans go wild over 88-second 'Star Wars'...
- In Ferguson, mundane choices led to tragedy
- Evangelicals with gay children challenging...
- 10 Things to See: A week of top AP photos
- New York boys buried in snow pile for 7 hours...
- BLACK FRIDAY LIVE: Protests, beer and prison
- Why Utahns are some of the biggest spenders,...
- Official Christmas tree arrives at White House
- As Ferguson verdict is read, protesters... 71
- Grand jury won't indict Ferguson cop in... 30
- Evangelicals with gay children... 28
- Ferguson businesses torched in... 17
- Under pressure, Hagel steps down as... 15
- Obama heads to Chicago to pitch... 13
- Why Utahns are some of the biggest... 12
- Attorney General Eric Holder:... 11