Egypt's presidency rejects accusations of dictatorship
Egypt's judicial council rules Morsi decree must be limited to decisions of 'sovereign' matter.
The Egyptian presidency said on Sunday it was committed to engaging "all political forces" to reach common ground on the constitution and stressed the "temporary nature" of a decree expanding President Mohammed Morsi's powers.
"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," the presidency said in a statement.
Facing a storm of protest from judges and political opponents who accuse Morsi of turning into a new dictator, the presidency said the decree was "not meant to concentrate powers", but to devolve them. It aimed to avoid the politicization of the judiciary, the statement said.
It also aimed to "abort any attempt" to dissolve either the body writing Egypt's constitution or the upper house of parliament, both of them dominated by Islamists allied to Morsi, the statement added.
"The presidency stresses its firm commitment to engage all political forces in the inclusive democratic dialogue to reach a common ground and bridge the gap in order to reach a national consensus on the constitution," it added.
The statement came as Egypt's highest judicial authority, the Supreme Judicial Council, ruled that the decree must only be applied to decisions or laws relating to "sovereign matters."