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Egypt to hold mid-January constitutional referendum-report

Source: Reuters - Mon, 9 Dec 2013 11:24 PM
Author: Reuters
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CAIRO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Egypt will hold a referendum on a new constitution in the middle of January, a government minister told the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper on Monday.

Hany Mahmoud, minister of state for administrative development, said the vote would be held nationwide over two days, the newspaper's website reported.

The new constitution is an important milestone in the political transition plan drawn up by the army-installed interim government that took office after Islamist President Mohamed Mursi was deposed by the military on July 3.

A 50-member assembly finished the draft last week and handed it to interim President Adly Mansour, who has yet to set the referendum date.

The draft removes Islamist-inspired provisions written into the Egyptian constitution approved in a referendum last year while Mursi was still in office. Among other changes, it also deepens the autonomy of the already powerful military.

The draft also allows the authorities to switch the order of elections expected next year. The plan unveiled in July required parliamentary elections to be held first, but the new constitution would allow a presidential election first. (Reporting by Ali Abdellati; writing by Tom Perry; editing by Jackie Frank)

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