|Egypt president warns against new unrest||
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's president warned against any unrest that could harm the drive to repair the country's battered economy in his first address before the newly convened upper house of parliament on Saturday, urging the opposition to work with his government.
In the nationally televised speech, Mohamed Morsi said the nation's entire efforts should be focused on "production, work, seriousness and effort," now that a new constitution came into effect this week, blaming protests and violence the last month for causing further damage to an economy already in crisis since the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Citing the economy, Morsi pressed the opposition to drop its refusals to deal with his government, repeating his invitation for it to join a national dialogue he has been holding -- and adding a warning that appeared directed at the opposition not to turn to protests that might cause unrest.
All sides must "realize the needs of the moment" and work only through "mature democracy while avoiding violence," he told the 270-member Shura Council. "We condemn and reject all forms of violence by individuals, groups, institutions and even from the nation and its government. This is completely rejected."
Last month, the largely secular and liberal opposition launched a wave of protests against decrees by Morsi taking new powers -- since revoked -- and against the draft constitution that his Islamist allies rammed through to finalization and put to a referendum, completed a week ago. In response, Islamists also launched mass rallies, and the two sides erupted into violence several times. The worst violence came in clashes outside the presidential palace in Cairo that killed 10 people, and though it was sparked when Islamists attacked a sit-in, Morsi's allies have depicted the opposition as to blame.
Opponents fear that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which he hails, are monopolizing rule and that the new constitution will consecrate their power. The charter allows for a stronger implementation of Islamic law, or Shariah, than in the past and provisions that could limit many civil rights and freedoms of minorities. The charter was passed by 64 percent in the referendum, though turnout was only around 33 percent.
Under the new constitution, the upper house of parliament, which normally has few powers, is now serving as the law-making body until a new legislating lower house is chosen in national elections expected within a few months. The upper house, called the Shura Council, has an overwhelming Islamist majority, mainly from Morsi's Brotherhood and the allied ultraconservative Salafis.
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