Egypt to hold vote on draft constitution

December 02, 2012 - 3:17:28 am

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi (front C) poses with members of the constituent assembly during a celebration in the seminar hall in Nasr city in Cairo yesterday.


CAIRO: President Mohammed Mursi called on Egyptians yesterday to vote in a December 15 referendum on the controversial draft constitution at the heart of a political crisis, amid mass Islamist rallies in Cairo.

Mursi made the announcement following a ceremony where he received a copy of the charter from the head of the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly, boycotted by liberals and Christians, that adopted it the day before.

Hundreds of thousands of Islamists rallied from early yesterday in support of Mursi’s new expanded powers and the contested charter, which has taken centre stage in the country’s worst political crisis since his election in June.

The crowds flooded the squares and large avenues near Cairo University, led by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, on whose ticket Mursi ran for office, and by hardline Salafists, causing traffic jams in the capital.

On Friday, opponents of the draft constitutions had massed in Tahrir Square, demonstrating the country’s widening polarisation, squaring largely Islamist forces against secular-leaning opponents.

“We want this phase to end. We want a constitution. If people don’t like the constitution, let them say so through the ballot boxes,” one protester said yesterday. Others chanted: “The people want the implementation of God’s law.” “We are here to support the decisions of Dr Mohammed Mursi; we support him because those decisions were a part of the revolutionary demands,” said Hend Abdellateef. AFP