Cairo, Egypt — Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi is trying to diffuse tensions after he made a decree on Thursday that gave him sweeping new powers.
The president’s office issued a statement on Sunday saying that the decree is “temporary,” and that Morsi plans to meet with the Supreme Judicial Council on Monday to discuss why he issued the decree, reports France-24.
The Egyptian presidency reassured on Sunday that it is committed to engaging “all political forces” to reach common ground on the country’s new constitution. Their statement also stressed that the decree is temporary. The presidency added:
“This declaration is deemed necessary in order to hold accountable those responsible for the corruption as well as other crimes during the previous regime and the transitional period.”
Morsi’s decree set off protests around the country, with hundreds of people storming through Tahrir Square and at least one Muslim Brotherhood office set on fire. Morsi is also facing the threat of a strike from judges who feel the Egyptian president is undermining their power.
Reuters notes that the decree is being criticized by many who believe that Morsi is turning himself into a dictator. The country’s stock market plunged on Sunday — the first day it has been open since the decree was made.
At least 500 people have been hurt in clashes with police. Protesters are also worried that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to dominate the post-Hosni Mubarak era after they won the country’s first democratic parliamentary and presidential elections this year.
While the country’s judicial authority hinted they would be willing to compromise with President Morsi, his opponents will likely accept nothing less than him completely rescinding his new power.