He blamed the opponents of the islamists for the violence and defended his power politics. Mursi, who was elected president in june as the muslim brotherhood candidate, said the majority of egyptians who voted for him must now decide the country’s future. "Isn’t that democracy?", he asked.
To the opposition, he offered a meeting next saturday. However, observers suspect that the leadership of the liberal opposition alliance around mohammed elbaradei and amre mussa will not accept this offer, as mursi does not want to meet their demands.
Liberal and left-wing parties demand a revision of the draft for a new constitution formulated by the islamists. They also insist on a postponement of the referendum on the constitution, which is scheduled for 12 december. December is planned. Mursi rejects this. If the majority of citizens voted against the draft, he added, he would be prepared to convene a new constitutional assembly.
Mursi also stuck to the controversial constitutional declaration with which he had considerably expanded his powers in november. The only thing he was prepared to waive was article VI of the declaration, the president said. This article had allowed mursi to take "all necessary measures to preserve the revolution, unity and national security" without consultation.
The president said that some of the armed perpetrators of violence arrested by the police after the street battles had had contacts with so-called "political forces". Among those arrested are "paid hit men". These had been hired by supporters of the old regime of ousted president husni mubarak. Foreign companies are also active behind the scenes, he warned.
Mursi stressed he did not blame all opposition members who had criticized the islamists’ draft constitution. "This is free speech, it’s normal, we have to differentiate," he added.
Mursi’s speech was greeted with horror and derision by the opposition. Some revolution activists compared his rhetoric to that of his predecessor husni mubarak. Mubarak, too, had always cited fears of foreign conspiracy in criticizing his administration.