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Egypt's constituent panel votes on first draft of charter amendments amid divisions

The panel tasked with amending Egypt's suspended constitution is voting on a first draft of the charter amid deep divisions over portions on the effect Islamic law has on legislation and the powers of the military.

Panel spokesman Mohammed Salmawy told reporters Sunday that only three articles passed by consent by midday. The panel is amending a total of 189 of the constitution's more than 230 articles.

The panel of mostly liberal-leaning members is pushing ahead with its work, aiming to put the draft to a public vote by end of this year. New parliamentary and presidential elections are expected early next year.

Authorities suspended the constitution after a July 3 popularly backed military coup toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The constitution was drafted under his watch by Islamists.