CAIRO, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday issued a republican decree on running the constitutional referendum in two stages, official news agency MENA reported.
The referendum, initially set for Saturday only, would take place on Saturday and a week later, the decree said.
In the first stage, polling would take place in 10 governorates, while the second vote would cover the other governorates.
The reason for holding the referendum in two stages was the lack of judges to supervise voting at polling stations, said a member of Egypt's Supreme Electoral Commission Mahmoud Abu Shousha.
Earlier in December, the Egyptian Judge Club said it would boycott the the referendum. However, it announced Monday that it would supervise the constitutional referendum with such conditions as forbidding propaganda out of polling stations and securing the headquarters of the Higher Committee for Elections.
About 51 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in the upcoming referendum, MENA reported Wednesday.
Egypt has a population of 91 million -- 83 million at home and 8 million abroad.
Voting by Egyptian expatriates have already started Wednesday morning and will end Saturday.
Head of Egyptian Constituent Assembly Hossam al-Ghiriani urged voters to take part in the country's constitutional referendum and to read the draft constitution well before their approval or disapproval.
Stressing that voting in the referendum was a national duty, al- Ghiriani called on Egyptians not to participate in rallies, protests or marches on the referendum day whether they were for or against the draft constitution.
Meanwhile, Egypt's main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, announced they would take part in the constitution referendum but would say "No" to the draft constitution.
Despite their long calls for postponing the referendum on the draft constitution, the front, an alliance of Egyptian political parties formed to defeat Morsi's Nov. 22 constitutional declaration, said they decided to participate in the referendum without conditions as long as the referendum would be well supervised by the transparent judiciary.
On Nov. 22, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration which rules that all laws, decrees and constitutional declarations issued by the president since he came into office on June 30 are final and unchallengeable by anybody, which triggered a nationwide wave of protests and demonstrations.
On Saturday, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration, which annulled the previous one. However, the date for the constitutional referendum had not been put off as required by the opposition.
In its third article, Morsi's new constitutional declaration said that if the new constitution was voted down in the referendum, the president would call for the election of a new assembly through direct ballot to draft a new constitution. The new 100-member panel would be elected within three months after the announcement of the referendum results.
Egypt's opposition front to partake in constitution referendum, voting with "NO"
CAIRO, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, announced Wednesday that they will take part in the constitution referendum scheduled for Dec. 15 but will say "No" to the draft constitution, a member of the front Amr Moussa told Xinhua.
"We will take part in the referendum and say no," Moussa said, calling all the Egyptian people to say "No" to the draft. Full story
Egypt to run constitution referendum in two stages
CAIRO, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued Wednesday a republican decree on running the constitution referendum in two stages, official news agency MENA reported.
The decree stated that the referendum will be run in two stages. The first one will be on Dec. 15, covering the governorates of Cairo, Alexandria, Daqahlya, Gharbeya, Sharqeya, Assiut, Souhag, Aswan, Southern Sinai and Northern Sinai, while the second stage will be on Dec. 22, covering the other governorates. Full story
Supporters, opponents of Morsi hold rallies in Egypt over upcoming referendum
CAIRO, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Supporters and opponents of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi held rallies Tuesday across the country, reflecting a bitter division among the nation.
Thousands of Morsi's supporters, mainly members of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist Islamists, rallied outside Rabia al- Adawiya Mosque at Nasr City in Cairo, raising signs and chanting slogans in support of a recent constitutional declaration issued by Morsi and the upcoming constitutional referendum slated for Dec. 15. They dubbed their protests as "Yes for legitimacy." Full story