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Egypt's constitution panel approves remaining articles

Constitution-amending committee approves four articles pertaining to the transitional phase which were initially rejected; Draft to be submitted to president Tuesday

Ahram Online, Sunday 1 Dec 2013
constitution
Amr Moussa (L), head of the assembly writing Egypt's new constitution, speaks with El-Sayed El-Badawi (R), the head of the Wafd party, before a vote at the Shura Council in Cairo December 1, 2013. The assembly writing Egypt's new constitution voted on Sunday against an article that requires parliamentary elections to be held before presidential elections, raising uncertainty over the country's political transition timetable (Photo: Reuters)
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The committee responsible for amending the Egyptian constitution finished voting on a new draft of the charter on Sunday evening, approving four articles that had not been passed in earlier sessions.

The articles were discussed at a closed meeting on Sunday evening, before a final session at which they were passed. All of the articles relate to the upcoming elections.

Article 230, which puts forward an electoral timeline, was amended and then passed. The previous text stated that the parliamentary elections would be held after a minimum period of 30 days and a maximum one of 90 days following the ratification of the constitution. The article also stipulated that presidential elections be held no later than 30 days after parliament convenes.

The amended article passed with 42 votes in favour and two against, leaves avoids saying which vote should happen first, leaving the decision up to President Adly Mansour.

Article 229 was also amended; the original text had stated that two-thirds of members of parliament were to be independent, with the remaining third drawn from party lists. The amended text, which was passed, left the matter to be decided by the interim president. The amended text was approved by 43 votes in favour and two against, while one member abstained.

The two other articles – 243 and 244 – had initially allowed parliamentary quotas for workers, farmers, young people, Christians, and persons with disabilities. After amendment, they stipulate that each category will be granted "proper representation."

All the above articles are under Section 2 of Chapter 6 of the charter, and are not permanent because they relate to the current transitional period.

Following the end of the session, head of the committee Amr Moussa announced that the panel would reconvene Monday ahead of submitting the draft to the president on Tuesday.

A national referendum to approve the amended constitution is scheduled for January 2014.

The current draft contains 247 articles.

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