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Egypt military council offers concessions

Oct 1, 2011, 12:28 p.m.

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's ruling military council said on Saturday it would consider ending military trials for civilians and setting a clearer timeline for the transition to civilian rule.

The state news agency MENA reported the council said it would also introduce legislation to prevent members of former President Hosni Mubarak's disbanded National Democratic Party from taking part in political life.

The military council, which is facing growing demands for swifter democratic reforms, said it would study the status of an emergency law condemned by rights activists for handing police sweeping powers of arrest and detention.

It said it will also amend a law for the parliamentary election in November. Sunday is the deadline for changes demanded by political parties trying to counter the influence of Mubarak's allies. It did not detail the changes.

The political parties want to squeeze ex-members of Mubarak's party, who might stand for re-election as independents, out of the electoral race which is aimed at steering the country to civilian rule.

The parliamentary election is due to start on November 28.

The council said the lower house of parliament would begin its work in the second half of January, MENA said.

The upper house of parliament is scheduled to convene after election results are announced on March 24. This will be followed by a joint meeting of the upper and lower houses to choose the members of a body that will write a new constitution.

The door will be open for presidential candidates to nominate themselves the day after the new constitution is approved through a referendum, MENA said.

(Reporting by Omar Fahmy and Maha El Dahan; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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