Main opposition bloc calls for citizens to vote against draft constitution, rather than boycotting poll.
Egypt’s opposition has called for citizens to vote “no” in a referendum due this week on a draft constitution for the country, a leading opposition figure says.
“We will vote ‘no’,” Amr Moussa, an opposition politician and former Arab League chief, told Reuters.
Moussa also said he along with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, leftist Hamdeen Sabahy and a Wafd party leader Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour would attend unity talks hosted by the army, but which the army said on Wednesday it had delayed due to a low level of response for attendance.
Earlier, the country’s electoral commission announced that the vote, initially set only for December 15, would now take place both on Saturday and a week later on December 22.
Each round will cover a different region, state media reported.
It said the two-day voting plan had been adopted because many of the judges needed to oversee the vote were staying away in protest at the decision to hold the referendum, so voting had to be staggered to move the judges around.
The draft constitution, approved by the constituent assembly last month, has become the focus of Egypt’s worst political crisis since President Mohamed Morsi’s election in June.
Rival mass rallies held by both supporters and opponents of President Morsi have become almost a daily occurance in Cairo, and clashes between the two groups killed at least seven people and injured hundreds more last week.
The crisis has necessitated a ramping up of security around the presidential palace, which has been the focal point of anti-Morsi protests.
Egyptians abroad, meanwhile, have already begun voting in the referendum on the new constitution, state media reported on Wednesday.
Voting was taking place at Egyptian embassies abroad, with more than 500,000 Egyptians expected to cast their votes in 150 countries.
Wednesday’s developments come after rival rallies were held again on Tuesday, with anti-Morsi protesters outside the presidential palace calling for a boycott of the referendum. Pro-government supporters also held a demonstration, expressing their support for Morsi’s decision to hold the referendum.