Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has cancelled the controversial decree he issued last month that gave him extensive new powers and sparked violent protests across the country, officials say.
However, despite demands from the opposition, a news conference in Cairo was told on Saturday night that this month’s referendum on a new constitution would go ahead as planned.
The announcements were made following hours of talks with political and public figures at Morsi’s presidential palace on Saturday.
Mohamed Selim al-Awa, an Islamist politician acting as spokesman for the meeting, said: “The constitutional decree is annulled from this moment.”
He said the referendum on the controversial new constitution would go ahead on December 15 because it is not legally possible for the president to postpone it.
Saturday’s meeting was boycotted by the main opposition leaders and had little credibility among protesters who want both the decree and the referendum cancelled.
Earlier on Saturday, Egypt’s military called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
“Anything other than that [dialogue] will force us into a dark tunnel with disastrous consequences; something that we won’t allow,” it said.
In a new decree, issued by the president late on Saturday, the first article reportedly ‘cancels the constitutional declaration’.
But although the decree has been annulled, some decisions under it will still stand.
According to reports, the general prosecutor, who was dismissed, will not be reinstated, and the retrial of the former regime officials will go ahead.
Opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, which stayed away from Saturday’s talks, is set to meet on Sunday to discuss a response to Morsi’s latest move.