Egypt opposition rejects referendum

  • Egypt's main opposition has rejected a constitutional referendum set by President Mohammed Morsi, saying it risks plunging the country into "violent confrontation".

    The opposition coalition has vowed to oppose a referendum scheduled for December 15 despite Morsi annulling a decree on Saturday that gave him sweeping powers.

    In a statement, the National Salvation Front said: "Holding a referendum now in the absence of security reflects haste and an absence of a sense of responsibility on the part of the regime, which risks pushing the country towards violent confrontation."

    The Front, an umbrella opposition group of liberal and leftist parties, have called for mass protests on Tuesday against a draft constitution put together by Islamists as it lacks consensus.

    "The Front calls for demonstrations in the capital and in the regions on Tuesday as a rejection of the president's decision that goes against our legitimate demands," the statement continued.

    Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party have urged the opposition to accept the referendum's verdict.

    They say the vote will finalize a democratic transition that began when a popular uprising ousted ex-president Hosni Mubarak 22 months ago.

    However, their opponents say the document being fast tracked undermines the freedoms Egypt's diverse 83 million strong population.