Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi signs a decree to put into effect the new constitution in Cairo on December 25 2012, in this handout photo released by Egyptian presidency office. Picture: REUTERS
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi signs a decree to put into effect the new constitution in Cairo on December 25 2012, in this handout photo released by Egyptian presidency office. Picture: REUTERS

ABOUT 90 members of Egypt’s upper house were sworn in on Wednesday as the so-far toothless body was poised to take up new legislative authority after Islamist President Mohamed Mursi signed the new constitution.

The members of the Shura Council were appointed days earlier by Mr Mursi. The body, that had until now been a consultative entity, will assume temporary legislative powers previously held by Mr Mursi until parliamentary elections, slated to start in 60 days, are held.

Egypt continues to be battered by the aftershocks of last year’s uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Standard & Poor’s pushed Egypt’s credit rating deeper into junk status on Monday, citing political tensions that have seen Mr Mursi’s opponents clash with his backers over the constitution. The ratings agency further cut the ratings of three Egyptian banks on Wednesday.

Critics say the new constitution boosts the role of Islamic law in Egypt at the expense of personal freedoms.

Results announced on Tuesday showed that Egyptians had approved the text with about 64% of the vote. The win is the Islamists’ third straight electoral victory since last year, following parliamentary elections and the presidential vote that brought Mr Mursi to power.

Reuters