An Islamist-dominated panel has approved Egypt's new draft constitution that must now be voted on in a nationwide referendum.
The panel, boycotted by several Christian and liberal members, has retained the principles of Islamic law as the main source of legislation. The group hastily rushed through the approval of the 234 articles in a meeting that lasted from Thursday afternoon until until early Friday.
The assembly moved up the vote in order to pass the draft before Sunday, when Egypt's highest judicial power is expected to rule on whether to dissolve the panel.
Over the past few days, about 30 liberal and Christian members pulled out of the panel to protest what they called the hijacking of the process by Islamists loyal to President Mohamed Morsi.
The Egyptian leader caused a political uproar last week when he granted himself sweeping new powers that bar the judiciary from challenging his decisions. Mr. Morsi told state television Thursday the decree will end immediately after people vote on the constitution.
Egyptians angered by the president's power grab have protested for more than a week. Two people have been killed and hundreds injured in the nationwide demonstrations.
Protesters chant anti-government slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, November 30, 2012.
Protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, November 30, 2012.
Merchants sell bread to protesters, some of whom have camped out in tents since last week, as opposition groups plan to gather for a rally in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 30, 2012.
Youths climb a wall that was built by police to prevent clashes between protesters and police at Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 29, 2012.
Youths walk next to a pirate flag on display by a street vendor in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 29, 2012.
Riot police and protesters throw stones at one another during clashes near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 28, 2012.
Protesters run during clashes with police near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 28, 2012.
A protester carries stones to throw at the police during clashes near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 28, 2012.
A protester reads the Wafd, a local newspaper next to tents occupied by protesters in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, November 28, 2012.
A shot of Tahrir Square in Cairo as night falls, November 27, 2012. (J. Weeks/VOA)
Egyptian security forces arrest a protester during clashes near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 27, 2012.
An Egyptian protester blows a stadium horn as he gestures at a cordon of security forces near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 27, 2012.
A protester throws stones at riot police during clashes at Tahrir Square in Cairo November 26, 2012.
Egyptians attend the funeral of youth activist Gaber Salah, also known as Gika, at the Omar Makram mosque in Cairo, November 26, 2012.
An Egyptian protester runs during clashes with security forces near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, November 25, 2012.
Egyptians continued protests in Tahrir Square against Mr. Morsi for a seventh straight day Thursday, accusing him of assuming dictatorial powers. Clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police launching tear gas canisters continued.
Opposition leaders said they planned to hold more marches Friday, and the Muslim Brotherhood has called a rival nationwide demonstration in support of the edict Saturday.
Meanwhile, the constitutional court vowed to resist what it characterized as an attempt by Mr. Morsi to undermine the court system. Egypt's highest courts went on strike Wednesday in protest of the president's decrees, vowing to stop their work until the constitutional court rules on Mr. Morsi's order granting himself immunity from judicial review.
Mr. Morsi is expected to put the draft constitution to a public referendum as early as mid-December.
Watch related video of anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square