Egypt draft charter approved for referendum

CAIRO- Egypt's new draft constitution was approved Sunday for a referendum billed as the first stage in a "democratic transition" promised by military-installed authorities after Islamist president Mohamed Morsi's July ouster.
"Now we have approved the draft," Amr Mussa, the head of the 50-member constitution-drafting panel, announced on live television.

"The draft will be given to (interim president) Adly Mansour on Tuesday," he said, adding: "Long live Egypt."
The revised charter, which preserves the military's wide-ranging powers, including the ability to try civilians in certain cases, will be put to a referendum expected to be held in January.
Earlier the panel had rejected an article outlining the schedule of parliamentary and presidential elections -- tentatively planned for mid-2014 -- forcing the charter writers to redraft it.
The rewritten article, read out by Mussa, says the procedures for the "first election" must begin at least 30 days after the adoption of the constitution but cannot go beyond 90 days.
"Procedures for the other election must begin within six months of the referendum."
The rewritten article did not specify which election would be held first.
Abdel Gilil Mustafa, a senior member of the panel, told an Egyptian television network that "the president will decide which election will be held first."

Monday, December 2nd 2013

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