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

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.