Egypt Live Updates: Egyptian presidency sends messages of ‘compromise’ as thousands surround palace.(AO).20:30 Leader of the opposition National Salvation Front Mohamed ElBaradei calls on President Morsi to withdraw the constitutional declaration “tonight” and to postpone the referendum until national consensus is achieved.
“I ask President Morsi in the name of the Egyptian conscience to heed these two demands tonight. I am betting on president Morsi’s patriotism,” ElBaradei said in a live speech on private satellite channel ONTV.
21:12 Member of the National Salvation Front and ex-MP Amr Hamzawy says in a phone interview with private satellite channel CBC that members of the front will meet to discuss their stance after the announcement made by Mahmoud Mekki about Morsi’s readiness to hold off the referendum, describing the decision as a “positive step.”
21:10 Ahram Online’s Bel Trew describes the scene at the presidential palace right after President Morsi’s announced he is conditionally willing to postpone the referendum on the draft constitution.
“Protesters are celebrating the postponement of the referendum on the constitution,” she said.
“Meanwhile, some of them are discussing fortifying the area surrounding the presidential palace with barriers, out of fear that the Muslim Brotherhood’s rally in Naser City’s Raba El-Adawiya Mosque [three miles away from the presidential palace] will head towards them soon.”
21:08 Egypt’s vice-president Mahmoud Mekki read a presidential statement on Friday evening stating that President Mohamed Morsi is ready to postpone the constitution referendum.
However, “the political forces who demand the delay of the referendum must provide guarantees that there will not be appeals [against the delay] in courts,” the statement said.
Last year’s constitutional declaration, which was issued by then-ruling military council in March 2011 after a similar referendum, stipulates that a referendum on draft constitution must be held within 15 days of the date at which the president receives the draft from a constituent assembly.
The controversial draft constitution was handed to president Morsi by the outgoing constituent assembly on 1 December and the president set a referendum on the draft for 15 December.
20:42 Rights lawyer Ragia Omran confirms on Twitter that the 139 protesters captured on Wednesday during clashes at the presidential palace have been ordered to be released.
20:40 Ismail Fathy, head of Mahalla’s city council, denies that protesters have attempted to create a “revolutionary council” and rule the industrial city, located in western Delta governorate of Gharbiya.
“The demonstrations, which attracted around 3,000 people, were peaceful. Nothing of this sort happened,” he said in a phone interview with private satellite TV channel CBC.
20:30 Head of the Supreme Electoral Commission Samir Abu El-Maati officially confirms that the expatriate voting on the constitution referendum has been postponed from Saturday to Wednesday 12 December, according to Al-Ahram Arabic website.
19:55 In a fresh swipe at opponents, the Muslim Brotherhood said they would not let opposition “detail the path to democracy.”
“The Egyptian people will defend their democratic choice and will not let opposition to derail path to full democracy through intimidation and violence,” the group said on its English Twitter feed.
“If opposition is seeking change, the only way to do it through ballot box and earning people’s trust in upcoming elections. So far they have failed miserably.”More updates here.