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Saturday, December 8, 2012 - 3:15pm

Egyptian President Nullifies Expanded Executive Powers

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has annulled a decree that gave him sweeping new powers last month, an official announced overnight in Cairo. The referendum on the draft constitution is still set for Dec. 15.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson says Morsi had been saying recently he would give up his expanded powers after the referendum.

"In the end, the impact is that he has moved up by one week what he was planning to do anyway," she tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

Outrage had been spilling into the streets and around the presidential palace in Cairo over Morsi's executive decree and the proposed constitution, which the opposition says leaves out the rights of women, secular Egyptians and Christians.

The Egyptian military said Saturday there would be "disastrous consequences" if the crisis isn't resolved, according to The Associated Press.

This morning, NPR's Korva Coleman reported Morsi was holding a dialogue between his party and opponents, though Nelson reports it mostly consisted of Islamists. She says the official who made the announcement about the rescinded powers was part of this dialogue.

Gamal Fahmi, a member of the Constitution Party, told Al Arabiya that the new declaration was not sufficient.

"The ceiling of the people's demands is very high," he said, "and this constitutional declaration does not answer people's demands."

Nelson said, given the timing of the announcement, more time would be needed to see how the protesters will react:

"Obviously people were not expecting it, and so it's taking some time for people to digest what has been said to see whether there in fact has been significant change."

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