Egyptian president sets 15 December constitutional referendum date

Saturday 01 December 2012 22.19
Protests have been taking place around Egypt both for and against President Mohamed Mursi
Protests have been taking place around Egypt both for and against President Mohamed Mursi

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has called a 15 December referendum on a draft constitution and urged a national dialogue on the "concerns of the nation".

Mr Mursi was speaking after receiving the final draft of the constitution from the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly.

"I am issuing my decision to call people for a referendum on the draft constitution on Saturday, 15 December," he said.

Mr Mursi was speaking in an address to the constituent assembly that approved its final draft on Friday.

Mr Mursi hopes approval of a full constitution approved in a popular referendum will end a crisis over his assumption of sweeping powers by decree.

The Islamist president and his backers in the Muslim Brotherhood have faced a storm of criticism over the decision to accelerate approval of the new constitution.

Most of the non-Islamists in the 100-member constituent assembly had withdrawn from the body, saying their voices were not being heard.

Mr Mursi called for a comprehensive "national dialogue". "I renew my call for opening a serious national dialogue over the concerns of the nation, with all honesty and impartiality, to end the transitional period as soon as possible, in a way that guarantees the newly-born democracy," he said.

Mr Mursi’s statement came after Islamist crowds demonstrated in Cairo in support of.

Many thousands assembled outside Cairo University, waving Egyptian flags and green Islamist emblems to show their backing for the President and the constitution he is promoting.