• Islamists, liberals blast Egypt transition plan

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    CAIRO: Opponents and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi blasted a new charter granting Egypt’s interim president extensive powers, as talks for a new cabinet were to begin on Wednesday.

    The military’s ouster a week ago of Morsi, after massive protests calling for his resignation, pushed the divided country into a vortex of violence that has already claimed dozens of lives.

    In the restive Sinai peninsula, two people were killed early Wednesday when militants struck several police and army positions with mortar rounds and rocket propelled grenades.

    The fresh violence came less than a day after interim-President Adly Mansour set a timetable for elections by early next year, and appointed Hazem al-Beblawi as prime minister and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei as vice president responsible for foreign affairs.

    Cracks within the coalition that lobbied for Morsi’s ouster, and defiant protests by his loyalists, have returned the country to an uncertain transition to democracy ahead of the new elections.

    The National Salvation Front (NSF), the main coalition that had called for Morsi’s overthrow, has denounced Mansour’s decree and demanded amendments.

    The Muslim Brotherhood had already rejected Mansour’s temporary charter as a decree enforced by “putchists.”

    Beblawi, a former finance minister and economist, was to begin talks on forming his cabinet, the official Middle East News Agency said.

    He would offer the Muslim Brotherhood posts in the new government, the agency quoted a presidential aide as saying.

    But the Muslim Brotherhood spurned the offer. “We do not deal with putchists. We reject all that comes from this coup,” spokesman Tareq al-Morsi told Agence France-Presse.

    The continued standoff with Morsi’s loyalists, who demand the reinstatement of Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, has exacerbated fears of further bloodshed after his overthrow.

    In the worst incident on July 3, at least 51 people, most of them supporters of the ousted Islamist, died in clashes outside a military barracks in Cairo on Monday.

    On the opposing end, Tamarod, the movement that spearheaded the grassroots campaign against Morsi, complained that it had not been consulted on the transition plan announced by Mansour and would also make proposals for changes to the blueprint.

    AFP

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