Egypt's president appoints 90 to upper house ahead of constitution vote
Islamist protesters are seen through a hole in a poster supporting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as they sit in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Since the country's political crisis erupted more than three weeks ago, the opposition has kept the pressure on the government of President Mohammed Morsi with mass marches that at times have seen turnouts of hundreds of thousands. Morsi's Islamist supporters have countered with rallies of their own. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Published Friday, December 21, 2012 6:37AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 21, 2012 11:31AM EST
CAIRO, Egypt -- Egypt's official news agency says the president has appointed 90 people to parliament's upper house, a day before the second round of a referendum on a highly contentious draft constitution.
If the proposed constitution is approved, the Shura Council, normally an advisory body with no legislative authority, is set to wield temporary lawmaking powers until the lower house is elected in two months.
President Mohammed Morsi has the right to pick a third of the Shura Council's 270-members. The opposition says he chose the ones least likely to challenge his Islamist backers who already dominate the rest of the body, elected earlier this year with a low voter turnout of 8 per cent. If passed, the proposed constitution limits the number of presidential appointees to only 10.