A panel has completed amending Egypt’s Constitution passed last year under ex-President Mohamed Morsy, setting the stage for a national referendum.
Egypt’s interim government, installed by the military after it removed Mr. Morsy in July, is touting the new document as paving the way for a new political system it hopes will calm months of turmoil. If the charter is adopted in a referendum, the next steps will be parliamentary and presidential elections in the spring and summer of 2014.
But the referendum, likely in January, is expected to stoke protests by Islamist supporters of Mr. Morsy, who reject the post-coup government.
Authorities are hoping the new Constitution will be approved in the referendum by a higher percentage and stronger turnout than the Morsy-era document, as a show of legitimacy of the post-coup system. A 50-member panel appointed by the government completed voting clause by clause on the final draft late on Sunday.
On Monday, members of the panel met in a televised session in which they lavished praise on the document and pledged to do more to help Egypt through its bumpy transition to democracy.
The panel will now submit the draft to the interim president, Adly Mansour, who is to announce a date for the referendum. Though dominated by secular-leaning figures, it includes several Islamists.
The draft leaves uncertain which would be called first after its adoption — the parliamentary elections or presidential election. It says only that the first must be held within 90 days of its adoption, with the next within six months after.
The charter requires Presidents to declare their financial assets annually, and empowers lawmakers to vote out an elected President with a two-third majority.
It also bans parties founded on religion or sect and unequivocally states the equality of men and women.
It also guarantees the rights of Egyptians with special needs and the elderly.
But it also leaves the military with unfettered freedom to choose the country’s Defence Minister from within its ranks and grants him immunity for two, four-year presidential terms