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Egypt assembly rushes to finish constitution

  • The assembly drawing up a new Egyptian constitution has said it hopes to vote on a draft version later today.

    The news comes as the constitutional court suggested it would rule on Sunday whether to dissolve the assembly.

    Egypt's judiciary is embroiled in a stalemate with President Mohammed Morsi after he issued a decree last week granting himself sweeping new powers.

    The decree has triggered a wave of protests across the country.

    The constituent assembly is predominantly comprised of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, who back Morsi.

    Liberal, left-wing and Christian members have boycotted the body, accusing them of trying to impose their vision.

    The decree states that no court can dissolve the constituent assembly and that all decisions made by Morsi until the election of a new parliament were exempt from legal challenge.

    The constitution is vital to Egypt's transition to democracy. New parliamentary elections cannot be held until the document is completed and passed by a popular referendum.

    The decree also gave the body an extra two months to complete its work, which means the drafting process could carry on until February, consequently delaying new elections.

    Morsi is expected to make a televised address to the nation about the decree later this evening.