Islamist president mohammed mursi ordered the vote to be held in two stages on this and the following saturday because of a judge’s protest.
The draft had been prepared by a commission in which the muslim brotherhood and the radical islamic salafists had a majority. It is rejected by all liberal and left-wing parties as well as by some moderate islamists and the coptic church.
For the egyptians living abroad, voting began on wednesday. The cairo ministry of elections reported that the largest crowds of voters had been at diplomatic missions in kuwait and saudi arabia.
The opposition alliance, which also includes nobel peace prize winner mohammed elbaradei, had been debating fiercely in recent days whether it would be better to vote "no" or boycott the ballot box.
After mursi refused to postpone the referendum by two months despite a wave of protests, the opinion prevailed that it would be better to take part in the vote after all. The youth revolt movement 6. April published on wednesday a song titled "say no to the constitution.
A large number of judges refuse to supervise the referendum in protest against mursi’s power politics. That is why prosecutors are now to be used as election officials. Mursi also ordered on wednesday that the vote be held in two stages. In cairo and nine other provinces, the vote will take place next saturday. In the other provinces, the vote will take place one week later.
Army to help provide security on election day. In some regions, she has already been put on standby, according to military sources.
The christians and the secular parties reject the draft constitution because they believe that the islamists are using it to prepare for the transformation of agypt into an islamic republic. Human rights activists criticize that the draft does not guarantee the protection of children from exploitation and forced marriage.
Meanwhile, state media reported that the attorney general appointed by mursi in november, talaat abdullah, had transferred the prosecutor mustafa chatir from east cairo to the province. The latter had ordered the release of almost all the demonstrators arrested after the bloody street battles in front of the presidential palace a week ago. Opposition members called the transfer of the prosecutor to bani sueif politically motivated.
After the clashes, the muslim brotherhood had said that the sacular parties and unspecified foreign groups had incited the demonstrators protesting against the islamist head of state to violence and had even paid some of them. Several demonstrators had been abducted by supporters of the muslim brotherhood, mistreated and then handed over to the police.
Salafists have been sitting for days outside cairo’s media production city, where several private TV stations have their studios. The radical islamists want to protest with their permanent protest against what they see as too negative coverage of their movement. On wednesday they slaughtered a camel and several sheep in their tent camp.