Egypt's Mursi to address nation on Thursday - source

CAIRO Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:14am IST

Anti-Mursi protesters chant anti-government slogans as they carry a large Egyptian flag at Tahrir Square in Cairo November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Anti-Mursi protesters chant anti-government slogans as they carry a large Egyptian flag at Tahrir Square in Cairo November 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's President Mohammed Mursi will address the nation on Thursday on a decree he issued last week and the street protests that erupted afterwards, a presidential source told Reuters on Wednesday.

Protesters have said Mursi's decree gives him dictatorial powers but the source explained Mursi would seek to clarify otherwise.

"The president will address the nation on state TV on Thursday evening and will speak about the constitutional decree and why it was issued as well as the events that ensued afterwards," said the source.

A member of the Muslim Brotherhood with knowledge of how the decree came about told Reuters that Mursi, his vice president Mahmoud Mekki, and two other independent legal experts started working on the decree in October after he failed to remove the then prosecutor general Abdel Maguid Mahmoud.

Mursi's move triggered an outcry from judges who said he had exceeded his powers and large protests by Egyptians who accused him of attempting to take on the powers of a dictator.

"The president and his vice president began in October to work privately in the evenings after work with two legal experts to draft the decree that would allow him to remove the public prosecutor, among other matters," said the source who chose to remain anonymous.

He said that Mursi chose to keep his advisors in the dark to avoid any leaking of the decree to the media or the judiciary. The Muslim Brotherhood was not also aware of the decree, he said.

(Writing by Marwa Awad; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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