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Jul 21, 2013, 09.46 AM IST | Source: Reuters

Egypt's President issues decree to start work on constitution

EGYPT-CONSTITUTION:Egypt's President issues decree to start work on constitution

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's new president has issued a decree for legal experts to start work amending the country's constitution, which was suspended this month by the military, the state-run news website of Al-Ahram said on Saturday.

The committee of 10 experts will meet on Sunday and has just 15 days to come up with proposals to put before a broader-based body that will have a further 60 days to deliver a final draft, opening the way for fresh elections.

The suspended constitution was drawn up last year by an Islamist-dominated assembly that was boycotted by liberals and Christians, who said it failed to protect properly human rights and social justice.

Egypt's military put the constitution on ice following the ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on July 3.

The new draft is due to be voted on in a referendum, with the entire process set to take four months.

A revised constitution has to be in place before Egypt can hold fresh parliamentary elections which, according to a decree issued after Mursi's removal, are expected within some six months. They will then be followed by a presidential vote.

Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood is demanding the reinstatement of the deposed president and is refusing to recognise the new interim cabinet, sworn into office on Tuesday.

Many of Egypt's political parties have voiced concern about how the new constitutional committees will be chosen. The Islamist-led committee that drafted the old constitution was drawn from elected parliamentarians. (Reporting by Ali Abdelaty and Yasmine Saleh, Writing by Yasmine Saleh; editing by Crispian Balmer)

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