CAIRO Egypt’s opposition alliance urged supporters Wednesday to vote “no” in the referendum on a disputed constitution rather than boycotting, hours after the Islamist government forged ahead by starting overseas voting in diplomatic missions for expatriates.
But the opposition said it still may boycott the vote starting in Egypt on Saturday if its conditions are not met.
The start of overseas voting after weeks of mass opposition protests showed the determination of President Mohammed Morsi to go forward with the process despite a three-week political crisis and deepening polarization over the proposed constitution.
Hamdeen Sabahi, one of the leaders of the opposition National Salvation Front, said at a news conference that the alliance would urge its supporters to boycott if judges do not oversee the vote and the state does not provide security at the polls.
The country’s major judges’ union said Tuesday that it would boycott the referendum and judges would abstain from their traditional role of oversight at the polls.
“The Front decided to call upon the people to go to the polling stations and reject the draft by saying ‘No,”’ said Sabahi, reading from a prepared statement. “The people will rally at the polls and have a chance to topple the constitution by saying ‘No.”’