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Egypt Islamists hurriedly approve new constitution



Azza el-Gharf of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, second left, speaks with other members of the assembly during the vote on a final draft of a new Egyptian constitution in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. The assembly, overwhelmingly made up of allies of President Mohammed Morsi, abruptly moved up the vote which hadn't been expected to take place for another two months in order to pass the draft before Egypt's Supreme Constitution Court rules on Sunday on whether to dissolve the panel.


CAIRO : An Islamist-dominated panel has approved a draft constitution for Egypt without the participation of liberal and Christian members.

Members finished voting on all 234 articles individually, passing all largely by consensus, in a marathon 16-hour session that ended just after sunrise Friday.

The panel's rushed passage of the charter before a court ruling Sunday that could dissolve their panel is likely to further inflame a clash between Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and he largely secular opposition. The draft now goes to Morsi, who is expected to call for a referendum within 30 days.

The move advances a charter with an Islamist bent that rights experts say could give Muslim clerics oversight over legislation and bring restrictions on freedom of speech, women's rights and other liberties.

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