Egyptian Vice-President Mahmoud Mekky said on Friday the president would be ready to postpone an election on a draft constitution opposed by the liberal opposition, if it could be done in a way to avoid legal challenge.
His comments were carried by the privately owned Egyptian television channel CBC.
One of the demands of opponents of President Mohammed Morsi is that he scrap a referendum on a constitution that he pushed through a drafting assembly dominated by Islamists and then said would go to a vote on Dec. 15. The opposition has also listed other conditions for joining a national dialogue with Morsi.
Mekky said "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,” Mekky 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,” Mekky said.
The head of Egypt's election committee said the planned voting of Egyptians who live abroad on a disputed draft constitution has been postponed.
Friday's announcement could signal an attempt by Morsi to give a room for negotiations with the opposition, which is demanding the cancellation of the whole referendum set for a nationwide vote on Dec. 15.
Ismail Hamdi says that the weeklong expatriate voting, which had been due to begin Saturday, will begin Wednesday instead
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