Egypt

Egypt Headed to Constitutional Showdown Thursday

The Muslim Brotherhood vs. secular coalitions and political activists

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At 10 a.m. in Cairo tomorrow (3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time), Egypt's battle between Islamists and a loose coalition of secular politicians and political activists over the country's new constitution looks set to come to a head.

The Muslim Brotherhood announced that the country's constituent assembly will hold an up or down vote then on a new draft constitution that has roiled Egyptian politics for months. If it passes a body that appears packed with Islamist politicians, most of those from the Brotherhood, the constitution will then be put to a national referendum. One caveat is that, in the coinage of political scientist Marc Lynch, Egyptian politics since Mubarak have resembled Calvinball, with rules and deadlines and statements shifting constantly.