Factbox: Egypt's draft constitution

Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:54am EST

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(Reuters) - Here are some details of an Islamist-backed Egyptian constitution which rival camps said had been approved in a referendum at the weekend.

OVERVIEW - The draft provides for basic protections against arbitrary detention and torture and for some economic rights. But New York-based Human Rights Watch says it fails to end military trials of civilians or to protect freedom of expression and religion and rights of women and minorities.

POWERS - The constitution limits the president to two four-year terms. The president must secure parliament's approval for his choice of prime minister. The head of state can declare war with parliament's approval, but must consult a newly defined national defense council, in which generals outnumber civilians.

RELIGION - The principles of Sharia, or Islamic law, remain the main source of legislation. Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's top seat for Islamic learning, is to be consulted on "matters related to sharia" which activists say gives way for Islamic institutes to influence state's politics. In personal affairs, Christians and Jews will follow their religious codes. But an article defining the principles of Sharia was vague and led the Christian representatives to withdraw from the drafting process over worries that the article could be used to impose Islamic rules on Christians and non-Muslims. Other religions are not mentioned, prompting fears of discrimination.

WOMEN'S RIGHTS - The draft drops an earlier article linking women's rights to sharia. But it does not mention women in an article prohibiting discrimination, saying only: "Citizens are equal before the law and equal in rights and obligations without discrimination."

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