Egypt’s oppn urges vote against charter


Egypt's main opposition coalition urged followers on Wednesday to vote against an Islamist-backed draft constitution in a divisive referendum scheduled for Saturday and vowed to fight the charter even if it is approved.

"The National Salvation Front with the Egyptian people will continue to struggle to drop this draft of the constitution," Hamdeen Sabahi, a leader of the coalition said. "The referendum is not the end of our journey."

At the same time, however, the coalition laid down conditions to its participation in the vote including full judicial supervision, independent and international monitors and adequate security. If those conditions are not met on Saturday morning, the group said, it would issue a last-minute call for a boycott.

The statement followed an internal debate within the opposition over whether to boycott the referendum, an idea it had seemed to endorse on Sunday by dismissing anything that might legitimise the "supposed referendum."

As the political maneuvering continued, Egyptian officials outside the country pressed ahead with the ballot among overseas voters potentially numbering hundreds of thousands. While the number of expatriate Egyptian voters is small, reports said the ballot could yield hints about the balance of opinion toward the draft.

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