Egypt's prime minister says his country asked IMF to delay loan due to political turmoil

Egypt's prime minister says his country has asked the International Monetary Fund to delay a $4.8 billion loan it had agreed with Cairo because of political turmoil gripping the country.

Hesham Kandil told a press conference Tuesday the request to the IMF was made after President Mohammed Morsi suspended a program to increase a number of taxes, part of a program to reduce a huge budget deficit.

Kandil said that although the belt-tightening is a must, political disagreements and tensions made suspension of the measures necessary. Egyptians are to vote on a disputed draft constitution on Saturday, as hundreds of thousands protest against the document. Kandil said continued political instability is further crippling Egypt's already ailing economy.

The IMF executive board was expected to vote on the deal on Dec.19.