Dec. 26 - Egypt's Upper House assumes legislative powers after 63.8 percent of voters support a controversial new constitution. Sunita Rappai reports.
Egypt's upper house of parliament holds its first session on Wednesday following the passing of a controversial new constitution. The new charter was approved by nearly two-thirds of voters in a referendum, despite being vehemently opposed by liberal and secular groups. It gives the upper house, dominated by Islamist allies of President Mohamed Mursi, full legislative powers until a vote for a new lower house is held. Upper House member Mohamed Mustafa says the country should use the stability created by the constitution to build the country and create an "Egyptian renaissance". The new charter comes in the wake of a political crisis and violent protests after Mursi granted himself extraordinary powers in November to push it through. Opponents like this member of the National Salvation Front say they will continue to fight for a constitution that truly reflects and respects the diversity of Egypt. The passing of the referendum now paves the way for a crucial parliamentary poll in around two months.