Egypt’s Morsi plays down calls for early presidential vote
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has dismissed the opposition's demand for early presidential elections, calling it "absurd and illegal. dpa reported"
"Talk about early presidential elections is an absurd and illegal matter, which violates the law, constitution and the people's will," he told the state-run newspaper al-Ahram in an interview published Friday.
His remarks come as a protest petition campaign is collecting nationwide signatures to withdraw confidence from Morsi and push for early presidential polls.
The self-styled Tamarod, or Rebellion, campaign aims to gather 15 million signatures, beating the 13.2 million votes that brought Morsi, of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, to victory in last June's presidential election.
The grassroots campaign said last week it had collected more than 7 million signatures and expects to reach the targeted figure before June 30, which marks the completion of Morsi's first year in office.
The campaigners say Morsi has failed in fulfilling the objectives of the revolution that brought him to power.
"Expressing opinion peacefully does not worry me ... But using or inciting violence is unacceptable. We will not permit it," Morsi added.
The mostly secular opposition accuses Morsi, who is Egypt's first democratically elected president, of seeking to tighten his Muslim Brotherhood group's hold on power.
"Claims about Brotherization are misleading," Morsi told al-Ahram.
Backers and opponents of Morsi have held in recent months rival rallies, which occasionally descended into deadly clashes.