CAIRO Dec 1 Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi
called a Dec. 15 referendum on a draft constitution and urged a
national dialogue on the "concerns of the nation" as the country
nears the end of the transition from Hosni Mubarak's rule.
Mursi was speaking after receiving the final draft of the
constitution from the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly.
"I am issuing my decision to call people for a referendum on
the draft constitution on Saturday, Dec. 15," Mursi said in an
address to the constituent assembly that approved its final
draft on Friday before handing it to Mursi.
Mursi hopes approval of a full constitution approved in a
popular referendum will end a crisis over his assumption of
sweeping powers by decree.
The Islamist president and his backers in the Muslim
Brotherhood have faced a storm of criticism over the decision to
accelerate approval of the new constitution. Most of the
non-Islamists in the 100-member constituent assembly had
withdrawn from the body, saying their voices were not being
Mursi called for a comprehensive "national dialogue".
"I renew my call for opening a serious national dialogue
over the concerns of the nation, with all honesty and
impartiality, to end the transitional period as soon as
possible, in a way that guarantees the newly-born democracy," he