CAIRO - As opposition protests across Egypt gather momentum, the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly is rushing to finalize a draft of a new constitution that will be voted on Thursday.

Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reports that the government body worked into the early hours of Thursday in an attempt to finish the constitution draft that will replace the controversial decree issued by President Mohammed Morsi.

In the decree he announced last Thursday, Morsi granted himself sweeping new powers and placed himself beyond the scope of court overruling and judicial scrutiny.

Facing controversy and hundreds of thousands of people rallying against his Muslim Brotherhood, the President is now hoping to replace the decree with an entirely new constitution that will be put to popular referendum sometime in the next two weeks.

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Morsi is expected to make a televized address to the nation late on Thursday in an attempt to calm the opposition. In the meantime, he spoke with Time magazine, which featured him on its cover this week as "the most important man in the Middle East."


However, many critics say that the rushed constitution could make matters worse, with liberal and non-Muslim assembly members boycotting the government body, and accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of attempting to impose Islamism on the country.

Egyptian daily Al-Ahram also reports that after a nine-hour assembly session, the Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament, named the Shura Council, was granted power to issue legislation until a lower house of parliament is elected.

Two people and hundreds of Egyptians have been injured amid protests that have been growing in number since last week.

Egypt Independent reports new clashes broke out Wednesday evening, with protesters throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police officers who have been repeatedly using tear gas to disperse demonstrations.