Islamists Call for Dialogue in Egypt After Coup


morsi sisiA Muslim Brotherhood-led alliance in Egypt said Saturday it is ready for a national dialogue to end the political standoff in the country, in an announcement that did not demand the return of the nation’s toppled president to power.

The call is the first formal proposition by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi,
who have organized near-daily protests demanding his return since he was removed in a popularly backed military coup July 3.

It is not clear, however, how the current interim authorities will respond to the call. They are not likely to abandon a political road map they have adopted, which envisions parliamentary and presidential elections by summer. The road map also calls for amending the 2012 Islamist-backed constitution, a process that will be concluded with a nationwide referendum by the end of the year.

While the proposal 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.

The return of Morsi to office is a long-held demand by the group and the motive behind the near-daily protests it has launched.

The group said its call is directed to other national political forces, as well as the military-backed government. It offered a two-week period for them to discuss the proposal.

Mohammed Bishr, a leading member of the Brotherhood, told reporters the call for dialogue extends to the military as well. He said the proposition calls for the release of detainees arrested after the ouster of Morsi. The group 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 told a news conference in Cairo.