Brotherhood’s dialogue offer rebuffed by government
The coalition also asked for the end of security crackdown on Brotherhood members, as well as the reopening of television channels supporting them.A Muslim Brotherhood-led alliance said Nov. 16 it is ready for a national dialogue to end Egypt’s political standoff, for the first time not formally demanding the nation’s toppled president return to power.
The country’s military-backed government, however, signaled no intention to start talks with supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Underscoring that, judges also suggested that the government disband the Brotherhood’s political party.
The call by the alliance of Islamist groups is the first formal proposition by Morsi supporters, who have organized near-daily protests demanding his return to office since he was removed in a popularly supported military coup July 3.
Mohammed Bishr, a leading member of the Brotherhood, told reporters the proposition calls for the release of detainees arrested after the ouster of Morsi. The coalition also asked for the end of security crackdown on Brotherhood members and its allies, as well as the reopening of television channels supporting them.
“We are keen on the country’s stability and to get out of the economic crunch,” Bishr said. The coalition said its call is directed to other national political forces, as well as the military and the interim government it supports. The coalition offered a two-week period for them to discuss the proposal.
While the proposal offered doesn’t call for Morsi’s return to the presidency, it insists on basing a solution on “constitutional legitimacy.” The group didn’t elaborate.
A spokesman for the Brotherhood and its political party said one way of restoring constitutional legitimacy is to re-install Morsi briefly, so he can call for new elections or name a new prime minister.
The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists about the proposal. Morsi himself insisted at the start of his trial on Nov. 4 that he was still Egypt’s legitimate president and could only be removed by a parliamentary vote.
It’s unclear how the coalition proposal would fit into a military-backed plan already in place for returning Egypt to democracy. That plan calls for a referendum by the end of the year on changes to the Islamist-drafted constitution. That would be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections by summer.
Deputy Prime Minister Hossam Eissa told The Associated Press that Morsi supporters should accept the military-backed plan first as a starting point for talks. “A call for dialogue has to be based on accepting the accomplishments (since Morsi’s ouster) and the current arrangements,” Eissa said. “With no acceptance, there is no dialogue.”
Meanwhile, a panel of judges told a court in Egypt it should disband the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, and seize all its assets, state news agency MENA reported. A report by the panel said the party should be dissolved as another court order already banned the Brotherhood, the agency said.
The panel offered its opinion as guidance for the court, which is expected to rule on whether to disband the party in February.