The Straits Times
Published on Dec 12, 2012

Egypt crisis clouded by talks delay, opposition demands


CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt's crisis showed no sign of easing on Wednesday as the army delayed unity talks meant to ease political divisions and the opposition set near-impossible demands for not boycotting a constitutional referendum.

Voting on the controversial Islamist-backed draft charter is due to start on Saturday, with a second round scheduled for a week later following a last-minute decision by the electoral commission to spread polling over two days.

Egyptians abroad have already started casting their votes in embassies and consulates in 150 countries, the official MENA news agency said.

Mass demonstrations for and against the referendum called by Islamist President Mohamed Morsi took place in Cairo late on Tuesday.