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Egypt's Morsi Cedes Top Legislative Authority to Parliament

RIA Novosti

02:39 27/12/2012

CAIRO, December 27 (RIA Novosti) - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said in his address to the nation late on Wednesday that he cedes the top legislative authority to the Shura Council, the upper chamber of the Egyptian parliament.

'With the adoption of the country's new fundamental law… the legislative authority from now on is held by representatives of the Egyptian people - the Shura Council," said Morsi, congratulating citizens on the adoption of a new constitution.

The president signed the constitution into law earlier on Wednesday.

Two-thirds of the members of the 270-seat council, which held its first session on Wednesday, were elected earlier this year, while the remaining one third was appointed by Morsi last week.

The Shura Council will be able to pass laws until the lower chamber of a new parliament is elected in a nationwide vote within the next few months.

One of the council's most important tasks would be to adopt a new law on elections to the lower house of parliament. The draft law is due to be submitted to the Shura council as early as next week.

The election date is to be announced within two months since the approval of the constitution, until late February 2013.

In his speech to the nation, Morsi also said he was in talks with Prime Minister Hisham Qandil over possible changes to the cabinet.

"The Egyptian government has worked in complicated conditions of the transition period since August 2, so I ordered the prime minister to make necessary changes before the lower chamber of the country's new parliament is formed," the president said.

A two-stage referendum on the country's new constitution was held in Egypt on December 15 and 22. According to the official results, 63.8 percent supported the new constitution and 36.2 percent voted against.

A total of 17 million out of more than 50 million registered as voters cast their ballot.

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