Cairo: Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has called on Egyptians to vote on December 15 in a referendum on a controversial draft constitution at the heart of widening rifts between political forces.
Mursi called "all Egyptians to a referendum on the draft constitution on Saturday, December 15," after he received a copy of the final document from the head of the panel drafting the charter during a ceremony in Cairo today.
He urged "all citizens to examine in detail and objectively the articles of the draft" constitution.
He reiterated his call "to reopen a real dialogue over the concerns of the nation ... to end the transitional phase as quickly as possible and protect our newborn democracy."
The constitution has taken centre stage in the country's worst political crisis since Mursi's election in June, squaring Islamist forces against secular-leaning opponents.
Liberals, leftists and Christians walked out of the constituent assembly, leaving a largely Islamist panel in charge of drafting the charter which has been criticised for failing to represent all Egyptians.
"Mursi put to referendum a draft constitution that undermines basic freedoms & violates universal values. The struggle will continue," tweeted leading dissident and former UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei.