Egypt’s draft constitution approved by Islamist-dominated assembly

The Associated Press reports: Islamists have approved a draft constitution for Egypt without the participation of liberal and Christian members, seeking to pre-empt a court ruling that could dissolve their panel with a rushed, marathon vote that further inflamed the conflict between the opposition and the president, Mohamed Morsi.

The vote by the constituent assembly advanced 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.

The draft, which the assembly plans to deliver to the president on Saturday, must be put to a nationwide referendum within 30 days. Morsi said on Thursday it would be held “soon”.

The Islamist-dominated assembly, which has been working on the constitution for months, raced to pass it, voting one by one on more than 230 articles for more than 16 hours. The lack of inclusion was on display in the nationally televised gathering: of the 85 members in attendance, there was not a single Christian and only four women, all Islamists.

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