Egypt's Parliament Convenes Despite Protests

Egyptians chant slogans during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 27, 2012. More than 200,000 people flocked to Tahrir square on Tuesday, chanting against Egypt's Islamist president in a powerful show of strength by the opposition demanding Mohammed Morsi revoke edicts granting himself near autocratic powers.
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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's upper house of parliament has convened in its first session after the passing of the country's Islamist-backed constitution, the first action by a state institution in accordance with a document whose legitimacy is still contested by the opposition.

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The Shura Council was swearing in 90 new members appointed by President Mohammed Morsi Wednesday. The charter, approved by 63.8 percent in a two-round referendum that ended Saturday, gives the traditionally toothless upper house full legislative powers until elections for a new lower house is called within two months.

The Islamist-dominated council is expected to draft a law regulating upcoming parliamentary elections. Other items on the agenda may include laws on protests and the media.

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The opposition says the constitutional process was rushed and the referendum marked by widespread irregularities.

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