Egypt finalizes new constitution

Egypt’s Islamist-led assembly finalized a new constitution early on Friday aimed at transforming Egypt and paving the way for an end to a crisis that erupted when President Mohamed Mursi gave himself sweeping new powers last week.

The assembly concluded the vote after a session that lasted 19 hours, approving all articles including presidential powers, the status of Islam, the military’s role and the extent to which human rights will be respected in the post-Hosni Mubarak era, Reuters reports.

The final draft contains historic changes to Egypt’s system of government. It limits to eight years the amount of time a president can serve, for example. Mubarak was in power for three decades. It also introduces a degree of oversight over the military establishment.

President Mursi is expected to ratify the document by Saturday, allowing a referendum to be held as soon as mid-December on a text the Islamists say reflects Egypt’s new freedoms.

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