Egypt panel rewriting constitution for voters backs eliminating upper house of parliament

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The spokesman for the panel rewriting Egypt's constitution says the group has recommended abolishing the upper house of the country's parliament.

Spokesman Mohammed Salmawy said Friday that the 50-member panel voted for an amendment eliminating the Shura Council. The council took on a lawmaking role during the tenure of President Mohammed Morsi. Later, the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled the body unconstitutional just before the popularly backed July 3 military coup that toppled Morsi's government.

Authorities suspended the constitution after the coup. The amended constitution as a whole will be put to Egyptian voters for them to approve or reject under a military-backed plan to return the country to democracy. The plan also calls for parliamentary and presidential elections next year.