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Africa North
Egypt justice minister says Morsi 'ready' to postpone referendum
[Al Ahram] Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi may delay a controversial constitutional referendum, slated for 15 December, if the opposition accepts dialogue without preconditions, Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki said on Friday.

Anti-Morsi demonstrators, who switched their protest hub from the iconic Tahrir Square to the area surrounding the presidential palace in Cairo, are persistently demanding that Morsi call off the referendum.

The president's opponents say the draft constitution, which was written by an Islamist-dominated assembly, disregards the rights of women, workers and Christians.

Egyptian expats are due to cast their yes or no vote on Saturday.

"The president is ready to talk with political figures without any preconditions. He is open to the idea of postponing the referendum to reach consensus over the contentious articles," Mekki was quoted as saying by Al-Ahram Arabic website.

"He is ready for that even if it means the constitution will return to the assembly. Saturday's vote for Egyptian expats may also be suspended if opposition political forces accept dialogue without preconditions."

"The president believes (the opposition's) demands cannot be fulfilled without dialogue," Mekki, a one-time reform judge who played a key role in the anti-Mubarak movement before the January 25, added.
Posted by:Fred