x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Constitution vote suspended for Egypt's residents in UAE

Voting suspended after clashes in Egypt lead to at least six deaths.

ABU DHABI // Voting on the new Egyptian constitution for residents in the UAE has been postponed until Wednesday.

Embassies of Egypt were informed of the last-minute change late last night, when the announcement was made official.

"It will be held on Wednesday of this week from 8am until 8pm, unless we are told to postpone voting again," the embassy spokesperson in the UAE said.

On Thursday night the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, had first said in a speech that voting would not be postponed but the decision was changed after tensions in the country escalated. Liberals, anti-Islamists and secularists clashed with Mr Morsi's supporters outside the presidential palace on Wednesday over the new constitution and new powers given to him, leading to the death of at least six Egyptians and the injury of hundreds.

In his speech, Mr Morsi called on the opposition to meet him at the palace today at 12.30pm to discuss matters. Many had already said they would not take part.

Mr Morsi said if the majority voted against the constitution, a new supreme constitution court would be formed and a new constitution would be drafted.

But yesterday protests continued with thousands marching from Tahrir Square to the presidential palace calling for the president to step down, echoing similar calls made during Honsi Mubarak's tenure.

Egypt has been split for several weeks over the constitution, with some in the supreme constitutional court pulling out at the last minute. Some Egyptians have said the constitution does not represent the whole country and all segments of society.

While some Egyptians in the UAE were pleased with adjourning the vote, others were not so pleased.

"We wanted to get this over an done with. People can vote with or against the constitution, so I don't see what the problem is," M Mohamed Ali, an Egyptian living in Abu Dhabi, said.

Voting in Egypt is scheduled to take place on December 15.

OSalem@thenational.ae