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Egypt’s opposition drops referendum boycott, calls for ‘No’ vote

Egypt’s opposition have said they will no longer boycott the referendum Morsi has called over the new constitution.

Egypt‘s opposition has called off its boycott of the controversial referendum on the country’s new constitution, pushing instead for a “No” vote. 

The Egyptian army called off talks between rival factions and Morsi’s government over the drafted document, the latest setback on the country’s rocky path toward calming violent protests triggered by Morsi’s power grab last month, Reuters reported

The military claimed that there was “little interest in a meeting” between Egypt’s various political movements, and that many parties refused to attend talks, CNN reported. The Defense Ministry canceled the “national dialogue,” which had been set for Wednesday. 

“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 and a former left-nationalist presidential candidate, told reporters,according to The New York Times. “The referendum is not the end of our journey.”

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The opposition has demanded safeguards for a fair and free vote on Saturday, including full supervision by the judiciary, independent monitors, and adequate security at polling sites, The New York Times reported. 

However, the judiciary voted Tuesday not to supervise the voting, a reaction to Morsi’s since-rescinded decree that he was above judicial powers, the Washington Post reported. 

The nationwide referendum was originally planned for Dec. 15, but the Egyptian leader ordered the voting extended into another round which will take place on Dec. 22, according to the Post. 

The ongoing protests have already claimed seven lives, Reuters reported.