Egypt’s assembly finishes drafting constitution, braces for vote
Egypt's constituent assembly on Wednesday finished the draft of a new constitution and was to vote on it the same day, amid controversy over a decree by President Mohammed Morsi making the Islamist-controlled panel immune to judicial review, dpa reported.
After approving the draft, the assembly was to forward it to Morsi who will set a date for a public referendum on it, state-run newspaper Al Ahram reported.
Several secular-minded members and representatives of Egypt's three churches have quit the assembly, claiming the Islamists were imposing their final say on the draft.
Morsi, Egypt's first elected Islamist president, last week signed a constitutional declaration that exempted all his decisions and laws from judicial oversight, provoking angry response from the judiciary and triggering sometimes violent protests.
Opposition groups have accused Morsi of a despotic power grab. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group said the decision is temporary and designed to secure the revolt that forced Hosny Mubarak to step down almost two years ago.
Protesters say they will remain in Cairo's Tahrir Square until the decree is cancelled.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most well-organized group, has said it will hold a pro-Morsi demonstration on Saturday in Tahrir, raising fears about possible clashes with opponents camping there.