Middle East

Egypt media divided over President Morsi's speech

Mohamed Morsi giving a televised speech on December 26
Image caption Morsi's speech has drawn mixed reaction

Egyptian media are divided in their reaction to President Mohammed Morsi's televised address, in which he congratulated Egyptians on endorsing a new constitution.

Television stations, newspapers and news websites gave prominence to the speech in which the leader accepted that there was opposition to the new constitution and urged dialogue with all political parties.

While supportive outlets hailed Mr Morsi's conciliatory tone, some media figures equated Mr Morsi to the ousted President Hosni Mubarak. One presenter blamed Mr Morsi for recent bloodshed.

The Al-Yawm al-Sabi website carried criticism by the opposition National Salvation Front. A party member, Majdi Himdan, said the speech disappointed those who had hoped Mr Morsi would announce concrete decisions that would bring economic and political results.

The private Al-Mihwar TV interviewed Mahmud Ghuzlan, spokesman of Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, who praised the speech and spoke in favour of replacing underperforming ministers.

ON TV Live presenter Yusuf al-Husayni said President Morsi had failed to sustain public interest in his speeches after a mere six months in office.

He went on to attack the president, saying: ''You alone should be held accountable for the massacres, the division and the sedition and also for your crippled silence as you have been watching the bloodshed.''

Media anchor and prominent opponent Hamdi Qandil wrote on his Twitter account ‏@HamdyKandil: "Morsi's picture and Mubarak's voice."

Another prominent writer Ala al-Aswani said on his Twitter account ‏@alaaaswany: "Morsi's speech today is a copy of Mubarak's speeches; separated from reality, empty slogans and an attempt to beautify the rigging and dictatorship. Does Morsi believe what he is saying?"

Misr 25 TV, funded by the Muslim Brotherhood, broadcast reactions to the speech.

Writer Muhammad al-Jawwadi told the station: "The president admitted very humbly that the previous period witnessed mistakes by all sides. This proves the greatness of the president.''

Tariq Fahmi, political science professor at Cairo University, told Misr 25 TV that "we are entering a new phase after approving the constitution'' and that the president "has opened the door to dialogue in society". He urged political forces to respond to the president's "honourable" invitation to dialogue.

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