Egypt referendum on constitution 'set for January'

A soldier in an armoured personnel carrier at the main gate of Cairo University Interim PM Beblawi called the referendum the "most critical moment" for Egypt

A referendum on Egypt's amended constitution is likely to take place in January, the interim PM has said.

Hazem Beblawi said the referendum would take place in the "second half of January" - later than expected.

It is a key first step in the political transition after Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in July.

A committee of 50 members, few of whom are Islamists, began work in September on amending the constitution that was pushed through by Mr Morsi.

Parliamentary and presidential elections are expected to follow after the constitution is passed.

The army had given the committee a 60-day deadline to finish the draft.

Mr Beblawi called the referendum the "most critical moment" for Egypt.

Supporters of Mr Morsi have been protesting against the interim authorities and demanding his reinstatement.

They refuse to recognise the current government and are expected to campaign against the referendum.

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