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Islamist-led assembly votes on Egypt constitution

By The Associated Press

This article was published November 29, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.

— An Islamist-dominated panel tasked to write a new constitution for Egypt began voting Thursday on the document’s final draft.

Fast tracking the process is aimed at pre-empting a possible ruling Sunday by the Supreme Constitutional Court to dissolve the constitutional assembly.

The court will also rule on the legitimacy of parliament’s upper chamber, also dominated by Islamists. The lower chamber, the lawmaking People’s Assembly, was dissolved by the same court in June.

Liberal members of the panel have withdrawn to protest what they say is the hijacking of the process by Islamists loyal to President Mohammed Morsi. The panel’s president, Hossam al-Ghiryani, began Thursday’s session by ordering a vote by a show of hands to dismiss 11 members he said exceeded the number of sessions they are allowed to miss without risking dismissal.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of their dismissal and substitute members stepped in to fill their place.

The 11, who included former foreign minister and presidential candidate Amr Moussa, liberal politician Waheed Abdel-Maguid and two Christians, are among as many as 30 members who have pulled out in protest over recent weeks.

The assembly then began voting on each article of the draft document.

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