Egypt in last minute campaign

2012-12-21 14:28
(AFP)

(AFP)

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Cairo - Last-minute campaigning was taking place in Egypt on Friday ahead of the final round of a referendum on a new, Islamist-backed constitution that has plunged the country into crisis.

The draft charter is expected to be adopted in Saturday's plebiscite, following a first-round last weekend that showed 57% support, according to unofficial tallies.

But analysts warned the vote would not put a halt to the month-long crisis pitting President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist camp against the broad, secular-leaning opposition.

The conflict has sparked weeks of demonstrations and several violent clashes, including ones outside Morsi's presidential palace on 5 December  that killed eight people and wounded hundreds.

Egypt's powerful military has deployed tanks around the palace and provided 120 000 troops to help maintain security during the referendum, but it is trying to stay above the fray.

The judicial situation around and beyond the vote has also become clouded.

Many judges are refusing to oversee the referendum, prompting Morsi to split the vote over a week.

And the country's chief prosecutor, Taalat Ibrahim Abdallah, this week said he was stepping down after protests by hundreds of prosecutors - but on Thursday retracted his resignation.

Morsi had appointed Abdallah a month ago in one of his first decisions after giving himself near-absolute powers, a move that triggered the protests and united a previously disparate opposition.

The unrest forced the president to rescind the decree, but he kept Abdallah in his post.

Economically, the crisis has knocked the legs out from under Egypt, which is winded since the early 2011 revolution that ousted the 30-year autocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak.

The International Monetary Fund has put on hold a $4.8bn loan Egypt needs to stave off a currency collapse.

 

- SAPA
Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  hosni mubarak  |  egypt  |  north africa
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