Thursday, March 1, 2012

Brookings Stanford Policy Paper: Drafting Egypt's Constitution

Reposted from the Brookings Institute

With parliamentary elections now complete, Egypt moves to the next major step in its fitful political transition – drafting a new constitution for the republic. As the fundamental document establishing the framework for governance, the new constitution will have a lasting effect on Egyptian law, politics, and society. It therefore presents a unique opportunity for Egyptians to reshape political power, enshrine fundamental rights, and restructure processes of governance.

However, the constitution writing process is likely to be as tumultuous as the road traveled thus far and the outcome remains uncertain. Confidence in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has plummeted as the result of its erratic and unilateral control of Egypt’s political transition. And poor management of the transition has exacerbated tensions between liberal, leftist, and Islamist trends as various actors work to advance conflicting agendas in a rapidly changing political context.

This paper examines the most important issues and actors in Egypt’s constitution drafting process, with a special focus on how procedural deficits may result in substantive shortcomings in the new constitution itself. The paper draws attention to the gulf between “best practices” in constitutional design and the political realities of the Egyptian transition. Policy recommendations are presented in light of these realities.

Click here for the full report in English
Click here for the full report in Arabic