Egypt’s army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the architect of last year’s overthrow of elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsy, called on Saturday for a massive turnout in next week’s referendum on a draft constitution.
The charter marks the first major step in the country’s military-backed transition to democracy.
“I call on the people of Egypt to strongly participate in the vote on the draft constitution to rectify the democratic course and build a modern, democratic state for all Egyptians,” Mr. al-Sisi said at an army ceremony in Cairo, according to the official Middle East News Agency.
The nationwide referendum is to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The plan, laid out by the military after Morsy’s July ousting, includes parliamentary and presidential elections.
The charter, drafted by a mostly secular panel of experts, is devoid of the Islamist references that characterized the disputed constitution approved during the brief tenure of Morsy, Egypt’s first democratically elected president.
Mr. Morsy’s Muslim Brotherhood has rejected the proposed constitution and vowed to boycott the vote.
The army-backed authorities have warned they will deal firmly with any attempt to disrupt the referendum.
Hundreds of people have been killed in unrest in Egypt since Morsy’s overthrow.