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Morsi ready to delay referendum on draft constitution: VP

8 December 2012 6:42

Egyptian Vice President Mahmud Mekki says President Mohamed Morsi would be ready to postpone a referendum on the country’s draft constitution if there are no legal ramifications.

The president “could accept to delay the referendum” on the draft constitution if it could be done in a way that would avoid any legal challenge, Mekki said on Friday.

“The political forces who demand the delay of the referendum must provide guarantees that there will not be appeals [against the delay] in courts,” he added.

Egypt’s opposition has rejected the draft constitution.

In March 2011, a constitutional declaration issued by the then ruling military council stipulated that the president must hold a referendum on a draft constitution within 15 days of receiving it from the Constituent Assembly.

On November 22, Morsi issued a decree declaring that no judicial body can dissolve the Constituent Assembly, which was writing the draft of the constitution.

The decree allows the president to take “any decision or measure to protect the revolution.” It also makes decisions and laws issued by the president “final and not subject to appeal.”

Ever since the decree was issued, there have been massive protests in Egypt, with bloody clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood near the presidential palace in Cairo.

On November 30, the Constituent Assembly approved the final draft of the new constitution, which the president pledged to put to a referendum on December 15.

The Egyptians launched a revolution against the pro-Israeli regime in January 2011, which eventually brought an end to the 30-year dictatorship of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

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