President Mohamed Morsy’s speech, Sunday night, during which he declared the implementation of emergency law in the three canal governorates of Suez, Ismailia and Port Said, received polarised reactions from both opposition and Islamist groups.
The National Salvation Front (NSF) reiterated its disapproval of the president’s actions, holding him responsible for the deterioration of security across the country. The NSF’s media spokesman Khaled Dawoud said he did not think that the new measures implemented by Morsy would restore security and curtail the violence that has dominated especially Port Said during recent days.
Dawoud pointed to Morsy’s November 22 presidential decree as the tipping point that led to the instability, and expressed his disappointment that the president had not taken personal responsibility for the escalated tensions.
Head of Al-Dostour Party Mohamed ElBaradei rejected national dialogue following Morsy’s invitation to political groups during his speech: “Without the president bearing responsibility for the bloody events or calling to form a national salvation government, a balanced commission, or amending the constitution, any dialogue would be a waste of time.”
Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh’s Strong Egypt criticised the president’s decision to implement emergency law, saying it would have been sufficient to enact curfews in those cities for one week and increase security to protect citizens.
Strong Egypt also demanded in its statement that an independent judicial commission investigate the violence in Port Said and Suez. The party went on to propose a crisis management committee headed by Morsy, as suggested by Aboul-Fotouh on Sunday. While the party expressed disappointment in the government’s failure to adopt their leader’s plan, they agreed to attend the meeting in an effort to propose practical solutions and participate in national reconciliation.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), on the other hand, affirmed its support for the use of emergency law in order to restore security across the canal governorates, and called on all Egyptians “to commit to the ways prescribed by the law to appeal to any judicial rulings so justice is done without excess or negligence”.
The FJP also supported the president’s invitation to 11 political parties and prominent leaders for Monday dialogue.
Al-Nour Party Spokesman Nader Bakkar welcomed the moves made by the president, saying it was necessary to be firm with outlaws to restore order. “In general, there are reservations about implementing emergency law,” he said in a statement. “But we understand the need for it at this time.” However he criticised the president for not laying out a more explicit explanation of the agenda for the proposed national dialogue.