UPDATE 1-Egypt's opposition alliance calls for protests

Sun Dec 2, 2012 4:23pm EST

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CAIRO Dec 2 (Reuters) - An alliance of Egyptian opposition groups called for protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Tuesday to protest against President Mohamed Mursi's decision to call a Dec. 15 referendum on what it called an illegitimate draft constitution.

In a statement issued after a meeting on Sunday, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, the alliance of liberal, leftist and socialist parties accused Mursi of putting the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood - the group that propelled him to power in a June election - ahead of the interests of the nation.

"The National Salvation Front condemns the irresponsible act by the president of the republic in calling a referendum on an illegitimate constitution that is rejected by a large section of his people," the statement said.

It said Mursi had "broken his promise not to put the constitution to referendum before gaining wide national consensus around it, which did not happen".

It described the text as "the supreme guide's constitution", a reference to the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mursi called the referendum after formally receiving the final draft of the constitution on Saturday from the Islamist-dominated assembly that drafted it.

Most of the non-Islamist members of the 100-member constituent assembly had withdrawn from the body, saying their voices were not being heard.

The National Salvation Front rallied in opposition to Mursi after his Nov. 22 decree that expanded his powers and shielded his decisions from judicial review.

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