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Egyptian Constitution-writing Panel on Schedule
September 22, 2013

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The group writing Egypt's new draft constitution has announced its intention to meet its end-of-November deadline for a referendum.

A spokesman for the panel, which is led by former presidential candidate and Arab League leader Amr Moussa, said that the 50-member panel, which began its work on September 6, had approved one-third of the articles of the new governmental blueprint and were on target to finish the other two-thirds in the next several weeks. Panel rules require each article to be approved by at least 75 percent of the 50 members of the panel.

The spokesman did say that many of the controversial issues were still under discussion, including a proposal to place the army's budget under governmental scrutiny, a provision not found in previous constitutions. Another matter being discussed, the spokesman said, was a provision to limit the scope of military trials of civilians.

The constitution drafting is proceeding under a timetable announced by interim President Adly Mansour, who assumed the top governmental job after the army's removal of President Mohammed Morsi on July 3. Parliamentary elections and then the presidential election are to follow once the constitution is in place. Early estimates are that those elections will take place in mid-2014.

The situation on the streets of Cairo and other large cities is more stable than it has been in recent weeks. Since the ouster of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government, police have rounded up more than 2,000 protesters, including many high-ranking Brotherhood members.

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