The final draft of a new constitution has been approved by Egypt's constitutional assembly. The document must now be signed by President Mohammed Morsi, who will then likely submit it to the public for a vote.
It took the constitutional assembly (one member is pictured above) over 16 hours to vote and approve all of the 234 articles of the constitution, but early on Friday, the head of the assembly, Hossam el-Gheriyani, said their work was finally finished.
"We have finished working on Egypt's constitution," he said. "We will call the president today [Friday] at a reasonable hour to inform him that the assembly has finished its task and the project of the constitution is completed."
Under Egypt's time-plan, a new constitution must be in place before a new parliament can be elected. Speculation on when that will take place is focused on early 2013.
The assembly consisted of mostly Islamist members, as around 14 liberal and Christian participants in the assembly of 100 people had quit the body.
Thousands of protesters rallied in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square on Friday against the draft constitution.
Giving power back
According to Morsi, as soon as the constitution is approved, he will also relinquish a series of sweeping powers he gave to himself last week. His decrees sparked the biggest protests since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak last year, with many people comparing Morsi to a modern pharaoh.
Among the measures decreed by Morsi is a ban on any judicial review of presidential decrees or other actions and legal immunity for the Islamist-dominated assembly charged with drafting the country's new constitution.
Morsi has held both executive and legislative powers since June when Egypt's constitutional court invalidated the previous Islamist-led parliament.
Pending Morsi's approval of the new constitution, he would then submit the document to the people for a referendum vote.
mz/lw (dpa, Reuters, AP)