Egypt: Parliament approves constitutional reforms

Egyptian parliament voted Wednesday in favor of amending 34 articles in the Egyptian constitution as part of a political reform package proposed by President Hosni Mubarak, the official Middle East News Agency reported. Mubarak asked the People's Assembly, Egypt's legislature, last month to discuss the amendments that he promised during his campaign ahead of presidential elections in 2005. Approving the amended articles will take a minimum of just over two months besides the time it takes to prepare for and hold a popular referendum on the amendments parliament approves. MENA said Parliament Speaker Fathi Sorour announced after Wednesday's vote that 316 deputies approved the amendments - more than two-thirds of the 454-seat parliament, but did not say how many voted against or abstained.