France: Europe to try to convince Morsy to backtrack on new powers

France will try to convince President Mohamed Morsy to backtrack on the constitutional declaration he issued Thursday, which granted him more powers and stirred political and judicial opposition, a French foreign ministry spokesperson said.

European partners plan to discuss the issue with each other as well as with Egyptian authorities, spokesperson Philippe Lalliot said in statements published on the French Embassy in Cairo’s website Monday.

The constitutional declaration “does not seem to us to be in the right direction,” Lalliot said in statements Friday following the declaration, arguing that Morsy’s decisions stand in the way of democracy.

Lalliot said Egypt’s transition should lead to pluralistic institutions that respect public freedoms and the rule of law.

“After decades of dictatorship … the political and democratic transition cannot take place in a few weeks or a few months. Given this, the constitutional declaration made yesterday by President Morsy … does not seem to us to be in the right direction,” he said.

Lalliot said his country had backed the Egyptian revolution without restraint, and supported the transition that matched Egyptians’ aspirations.

Thursday’s declaration granted Morsy’s decrees immunity to judicial challenges and prevented the Constituent Assembly and Shura Council from being dissolved. It also removed Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud.

The measure sparked an uproar among judges and non-Islamist movements, which had called for mass protests Tuesday in Tahrir Square. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsy was a former leader, called for parallel demonstrations to support his decisions.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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