Jun. 29, 2013 (TSR) – Secular members of Egypt’s Shura Council (upper house of parliament) said they were resigning from the council, state TV reported on Saturday.
The opposition group Tamarod (Arabic for Rebellion) has called for mass demonstrations on Sunday, which marks Morsi’s first year in office, to demand his resignation and early presidential elections.
“Down, down the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)’s supreme guide,” shouted Tamarod members, in a reference to Mohamed Badei, the leader of the group.
Activists and opposition groups have been accusing Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood of trying to dominate all the country’s institutions without leaving a room for other political forces to take part in ruling the most-populous Arab country.
The Shura Council took over legislative duties after parliament was dissolved in June 2012 by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the country’s then rulingmilitary council.
According to Shura Council speaker Ahmed Fahmy, a number of other MPs also reigned but their resignations are yet to be accepted.
In a televised address on June 26, Morsi said the polarization of the country’s political life is “threatening to paralyze” Egypt.
Morsi said all political factions must remain committed to law and engage in dialogue to resolve issues facing the nation.
“Egypt faces many challenges. The polarization has reached a stage that could threaten our democratic experience and paralyze the nation,” the president said.
“We Egyptians are able to overcome this phase and overcome the challenges… All I ask of you now is to sit and discuss… to look for the positives and build on them; and to fix the negatives,” he added.
Morsi acknowledged that he also made some mistakes during the first year of his presidency, adding that everyone should learn from their errors.
“I have made many mistakes, there is no question. Mistakes can happen, but they need to be corrected,” he noted.
Morsi also promised to introduce “radical and quick” reforms in state institutions.
The Egyptian president made the remarks in an address to the nation hours after clashes between his supporters and opponents in the Nile Delta city of Mansura.
The Health Ministry said that at least one person was killed and 237 people were injured in the clashes.
Wednesday’s clashes broke out when opponents of the president began throwing rubbish at his supporters who were holding a rally in the coastal city, according to a security official.
Meanwhile, troops have been deployed across Egyptian cities ahead of June 30 protests planned by the opposition to demand the president resign.
Several political groups say the government is dominated by Muslim Brotherhood. The opposition also accuses Morsi of deviating from the 2011 revolution that toppled the Western-backed regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi’s supporters, however, say the president is cleansing Egyptian institutions of corruption. They also believe that he needs time to put into practice the principles of the 2011 revolution.
The president’s supporters have strongly condemned the upcoming opposition rally, which marks Morsi’s first year in office, as a coup against democracy.
On June 27, Egypt’s main opposition coalition — the National Salvation Front NSF) — rejected the president’s offer and called instead for early elections.
The NSF claimed that Morsi had failed to take responsibility for the country’s deep political polarization and failed economy.
Several political groups say the government is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. The opposition also accuses Morsi of deviating from the 2011 revolution that toppled the Western-backed regime of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi’s supporters, however, say the president is cleansing Egyptian institutions of corruption but he needs time to realize the ideals of the 2011 revolution.
The anti-Mohamed Morsi petition campaign said it had collected over 22 million signatures so far to topple the president.
“We gave them a chance to lead a reconciliation but they didn’t. The resignation comes to support the popular trend in Egypt,” said MP Mona Makram Ebeid, who resigned on Saturday.
Ihab al-Kharatt, the head of the human rights council at the Shura Council, said some 22 deputies had quit.
“We resigned in support of 22 million Egyptians who withdrew their confidence from Morsi,” Kharatt stated, referring to a petition launched by the opposition group Tamarod which says it has gathered 22 million signatures to demand Morsi’s ouster and a snap presidential election.
Meanwhile on Saturday, one person was killed in Alexandria in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi, raising the number of deaths since Friday in the northern coastal city to three, including a U.S. citizen, and the toll across Egypt to eight.
More than 600 people were injured in the ongoing violence that erupted a week ago, according to a statement by the Health Ministry.