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Egypt Crisis: Mohammed Mursi to Meet Top Judges

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Egyptian protesters clash with security forces near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt

Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi is due to meet senior judges to try to ease a crisis over the extent of his powers.

A decree giving him sweeping new powers was announced on Thursday, sparking violent nationwide protests and leading to a 9% drop in Egypt’s stock market, reports the BBC.

Mursi said on Sunday the decree was temporary and not intended to concentrate power in his hands.

He was committed to finding “common ground” with other parties, he said.

He also hoped to reach consensus on a new constitution currently being drafted, he added, and the decree was intended to prevent democratically elected bodies from being undermined.

The Judges’ Club, which represents judges throughout the country, called for a nationwide strike to protest against the decree over the weekend.

But the top judicial body, the Supreme Judicial Council, appeared not to reject the decree outright, saying it should only apply to “sovereign matters”, and urged judges to return to work.

Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky has begun efforts to mediate between the president and the judges.

The minister said he himself had some reservations about the president’s decree, Reuters reported.

The president is due to meet members of the Supreme Judicial Council later to discuss the decree, reports said.

Several prominent opposition leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed elBaradei, have said they will not engage in dialogue with the president until he rescinds the measure, known as the constitutional declaration.

According to President Mursi’s decree, no authority can revoke presidential decisions.

There is also a bar on judges dissolving the assembly, which is drawing up a new constitution.

The decree has sparked violent protests in Cairo and across the country since it was announced.

On Sunday, a teenager died and 60 people were injured in clashes in the Nile Delta town of Damanhour,

Described as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement that backs Mursi, 15-year-old Islam Fathy Massoud was killed after its headquarters were attacked.

Other clashes saw police firing tear gas in Cairo’s Tahrir Square area.

Large demonstrations are planned by supporters and opponents of Mursi on Tuesday.

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