President Mohamed Mursi has backed down in response to protests across Egypt and rescinded a November decree granting himself sweeping powers, but has refused to call off a referendum later this week on a new draft constitution.
Al Ahram reports from Cairo that Mohamed Selim El-Awa, an Islamic scholar who attended consultations with Mursi on Saturday, had said a new constitutional declaration will replace the November 22 decree but that the referendum will go ahead on December 15.
Al Jazeera reported an official confirming the news at a late-night news conference in Cairo after a "national dialogue" meeting over which Mursi presided.
Al Ahram quoted El-Awa as saying that the replacement decree would provide that "If the people vote no to the referendum, a new Constituent Assembly will be formed within three months via general elections, after which it will write a new constitution within six months."
The November decree blocked judges from reviewing Mursi's decisions and protected an Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly and the upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, from dissolution. Al Ahram said it "remains to be seen" whether Mursi's new decree will satisfy protesters who have been holding large demonstrations outside the presidential palace in recent days.