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Egypt constitution referendum due mid-January

Egyptians will vote on a new constitution on January 14 and 15, according Egypt's state news agency MENA. The new draft is to replace the constitution adopted last year by ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

Interim president Adly Mansour urged Egyptians on Saturday to vote for a revised constitution, saying it would "secure human rights" and provide the basis for a "democratic and modern state."

The draft has already come under criticism from some secular and rights groups for retaining the powers and privileges of Egypt's military.

MENA said the new draft was a first step in the army's transition plan aimed at fresh elections that followed last year's military's ouster of Morsi after protests against his rule.

His removal caused deep divisions amid a crackdown targeting Morsi supporters that left more than 1,000 people dead and thousands more detained.

Elections to follow

Under the transition plan, the new referendum is to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections in mid-2014.

The new document was drafted by a constituent committee dominated by liberals and leftists and chaired by Amr Moussa (pictured above), the former secretary general of the Arab League. The committee included two Islamists.

ipj/ccp (AFP, Reuters)