Cairo – Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi enacted a newly passed divisive constitution Wednesday even as he attempted to reach out to opponents in his most conciliatory remarks since voters began considering the document.
Offering to engage in a national dialogue with an increasingly organized opposition movement, Morsi said in a nationally televised address, “We don’t want to go back to a time when there was one opinion and an artificial majority,” referring to former President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, which ruled Egypt during Mubarak’s nearly 30-year tenure.
Opponents, however, rejected Morsi’s call for talks, saying he can’t be trusted and signaling that the nation will remain polarized. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, through which he ascended to the presidency six months ago, have heralded the new document as a pathway to stability. Morsi resigned from the Islamist group after his election.
The opposition groups – Christians, secularists, liberals and moderates – have called the constitution divisive and unrepresentative, saying it was written largely by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Some also have labeled it illegal, charging that there were irregularities during the referendum.
Mandela leaves hospital for home
Johannesburg – Former South African President Nelson Mandela was released Wednesday from the hospital after being treated for a lung infection and having gallstones removed, a government spokesman said.
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon will continue to receive medical care at home.
Mandela had been in the hospital since Dec. 8. In recent days, officials have said he was improving and in good spirits, but doctors have taken extraordinary care with his health because of his age.
Mandela was released Wednesday evening and will receive “home-based high care” at his residence in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Houghton until he fully recovers, said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj.
Mandela is revered around the world as a symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation, his legacy forged in the fight against apartheid, the system of white minority rule that imprisoned him for 27 years.