Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Saturday changed dates of the country's multi-round parliamentary elections after the Christian minority complained that the date of the first round falls on their religious holiday, DPA reported.
"This comes in a swift response from President Mohammed Morsi to the demands of the Christian brothers," Morsi's office said in a statement.
According to the decree, dates of the other three stages have been changed, with the fourth and final round to be held on June 24, three days earlier than originally scheduled.
The new legislature will hold its maiden session on July 2, said the decree.
Christians make up around 10 per cent of Egypt's 83 million population.
They have been worried about their religious freedom since Islamists reached power after an uprising that forced Hosny Mubarak to step down two years ago.
Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei Saturday called for a boycott of the forthcoming elections as a means of protesting against the government.
"Boycotting the election is the fastest way to expose fake democracy and confirm our credibility," he wrote on Twitter.
"(I) called for (a) parliamentary election boycott in 2010 to expose sham democracy. Today I repeat my call, (I) will not be part of an act of deception," he added.
ElBaradei is a leading member of the main opposition bloc, the National Salavation Front, which has yet to say if it will boycott or participate in the polls.
Morsi's call for elections comes amid a deepening political dispute between the Islamist president and the mostly secular opposition.
Several opposition leaders have warned that the elections risk further deepening political divisions within the country.
Egypt has been without a lower house of parliament since June, when the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the electoral rules were unconstitutional. The previous election had returned a vast majority for Islamist lawmakers.
The Shura Council, or the upper house of parliament, temporarily holds legislative authority until the legislature is elected.