Egyptian panel to vote on draft constitution

Egyptian panel to vote on draft constitution

A commission rewriting the Egyptian constitution is to begin voting Saturday on the draft charter, which the opposition says boosts the army's hold on power, dpa reported.

Proposed constitutional amendments give the army the power to appointment and sack the defence minister, media reports said.

The draft also allows civilians to be tried at military courts where hearings are held behind closed doors and verdicts cannot be appealed.

The army deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July after mass street protests against his one-year rule and then launched a deadly crackdown on Islamist groups, including Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

The draft charter, which is to replace the Islamist-influenced 2012 constitution suspended by the military, has yet to be officially announced.

The mainly secular panel is to finish voting on the proposed document by Tuesday, when its mandate expires.

If the 50-member assembly approves the draft, interim President Adly Mansour is expected to put it to a nationwide referendum.

The proposed constitution is the first major step in a transitional roadmap announced by the military after the ouster of Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president.

The plan also includes parliamentary and presidential elections due to be held next year.

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