ElBaradei calls for cancelation of referendum on Egypt constitution

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Egypt’s prominent opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei has called for the cancelation of a planned referendum on a controversial draft constitution.

In a televised message on Thursday, ElBaradei called on Morsi to cancel the vote on the new constitution in order to avoid the “specter of civil war.”

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate considered the draft as invalid, as it does not reflect the aspiration of all ethnic and religious groups as well as women and children in Egypt.
The opposition figure said he would continue with his efforts to stop the referendum.

The vote will take place on two separate dates, the first on December 15 and the second on December 22.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi recently backed away from a controversial decree he had issued to assume sweeping powers, but refused to heed calls on him to decide against the referendum.

Meanwhile, Amr Moussa, also an Egyptian opposition figure, said on Wednesday that the main opposition coalition of National Salvation Front will campaign for a “no” vote rather than boycotting the referendum.

Ahmed Said, another leading member of the opposition bloc, warned Cairo of more violence if it goes ahead with the planned vote.

“During the referendum, I believe there will be blood and a lot of antagonism, so it is not right to hold a referendum.”

Egypt has been gripped by deadly violence during the past weeks over the new constitution that was drafted by Morsi’s supporters. The opposition says the constitution undermines their values.

In the referendum, Egyptians must accept or reject a basic law that has to be in place before national elections can be held early next year.

 

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