- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Decree - December 9, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- Final Draft of Constitution, published November 29, 2012 (Arabic) (English) (Audio)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Decree - November 22, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- Draft of the Constitution, published October 24, 2012) (Arabic)
- Draft of the Constitution, published October 16, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Decree Pardoning January 25 Prisoners - October 8 (English) (Arabic)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Declaration - August 12 (English) (Arabic)
- President Mohamed Morsi’s Decree reinstating the dissolved parliament – July 8 (English) (Arabic)
- Renaissance (Nahda) Project (English)
- Morsi Meter (English) (Arabic)
- SCAF Amendments to Interim Constitution - June 17, 2012 (English) (Arabic)
- Interim Constitution (full text, English and Arabic), ratified by popular referendum on March 23, 2011)
- Law on the Presidential Election, No. 174, 2005 (Arabic)
- Electoral laws for the People’s Assembly and Shura Council (full text, Arabic, amended July 19, 2011)
- Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, No. 84/2002 (English)
- Law on the People’s Assembly, amended October 2011 (PDF, Arabic)
- Supra-Constitutional Principles (English) (Arabic)
- The Final Draft Wording of the Articles on Defense and National Security in the New Constitution (English) (Arabic)
- Leaked Articles of the Draft Constitution (English)
Egyptian Government Resources
- Official Facebook page of President Mohamed Morsi (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of Presidential Spokesman Yasser Ali (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of the Supreme Council of the Armed forces (Arabic)
- Official website of the Cabinet (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Interior (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Finance (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of International Cooperation (Arabic)
- Ministry of Social Solidarity (Arabic)
- Ministry of Information (Arabic)
- Ministry of Industry & Foreign Trade (English) (Arabic)
- Ahram Weekly (English)
- Egypt Independent (English)
- Daily News Egypt (English)
- Ahram Online (English)
- Akhbar al-Youm (Arabic)
- Ahram (Arabic)
- Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
- al-Masry al-Youm (Arabic)
- al-Shorouk (Arabic)
- al-Wafd (Arabic)
- Masrawy (Arabic)
- EGYNews (Arabic)
Think Tanks and NGOs:
- al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (English)
- Arab Forum for Alternatives (English) (Arabic)
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (English) (Arabic)
- Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (English) (Arabic)
- Adl (Justice)
- al-Asala (Authenticity)
- Building and Development
- Democratic Front
- al-Dostour (Constitution)
- Freedom and Justice
- Ghad (Tomorrow)
- Ittihad (Union)
- Karama (Dignity)
- al-Masriyin al-Ahrar (Free Egyptians)
- Masr al-Hurriya (Egypt Freedom)
- Nour (Light)
- Popular Alliance
- Reform and Development
- Social Democratic
- Sufi Liberation
- al-Tayar al-Masry (Egyptian Current)
In recent days, we have continued to hear the repeated mantra that the Middle East is experiencing an Islamic Spring. This has been substantiated by the election of President Morsi in Egypt and the Nahda Party in Tunisia. Based on that assessment, a number of DC-based think tanks have recommended that the US should work with Islamists who have embraced democracy. They drive home an image of Islamist discourse as being moderate and downplay mistakes as being part and parcel of politics and experimentation. It is, however, a shortsighted policy that has a number of pitfalls, and calls for the US to revisit it are muted.
This attitude is very dangerous, both for Egypt and Tunisia, and has resulted in an executive order waiving conditions under which Egypt was to receive military aid from the US. The policy has developed such that the US has adopted a dual discourse, where its military communicates directly with the Egyptian military, and its civilian arm communicates with the state of Egypt.
It also encourages a number of assumptions about the transitional process. The first is that the transitional process has not been politicized to the advantage of a certain political faction. Most pundits dismiss this as irrelevant or exaggerated, and instead say that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) should not be faulted for being the most organized group in the country. That is true and some of Egypt’s factions need reminding of that, but it is something which should not be associated with the transitional process. Take for example the debate over the president’s powers. Prior to the dissolution of parliament, the MB spent a great deal of energy trying to accrue some concessions and withdraw confidence from the Ganzouri government, and in so doing, would have set a parliamentary and governmental precedent. Now they are fighting for the president to have that same right to form a government. Out of that stems the deep debate over whether the dissolution of parliament was an attempt to weaken Egypt’s political arena, and specifically its Islamists. This results in the often-heard simplification that the liberals have sided with the military and are instead calling on it to intervene in the writing of Egypt’s constitution. For a nuanced understanding of these claims, one needs to step back in time.
Nathan Brown commented on how the military has made it mandatory for the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) to review the presidential electoral law before it is promulgated. In keeping with article 28, the military referred the law to the SCC, which in turn objected to it, and made some changes. This shows the military’s unilateral skirmishes in Egypt’s legal system. Additionally, people forget that the notorious article 28 that makes the Presidential Electoral Committee (PEC) a body above some courts was part of the legal system that the military initiated in the March 19 referendum, in 2011. The MB mobilized a vote in favor of the referendum, but recently during elections, it litigated against its original position, particularly in terms of the voter list and article 28.
That same referendum saw Egyptians agree to a set of 9 articles*, and then some 11 days later a constitutional declaration was issued with 63 articles, in which the electoral system was stipulated. On May 30, an amended law was issued contrary to the constitutional declaration of March 30, allowing parties to compete for individual seats; going against past court rulings. Its legitimacy is therefore questionable, but criticism at the time was deemed as steering away from the transition’s roadmap. This amendment was justified with changes to the constitutional declaration promulgated on September 25, 2011, allowing party members to compete for individual candidacy seats; an electoral law which the MB pushed for. This shows the politicization of the regime beyond any doubt. With the MB going against the administrative court’s ruling on the constituent assembly for the second time and having created the first void assembly, it is clear that the transition process has been politicized. The military could have easily asked the SCC to review the parliamentary electoral law, but it didn’t.
Thus recent rhetoric by some think tanks stating that parliament should be reinstated because it is the only source of legitimacy is inaccurate; the military has encroached on Egypt’s fragile legal system and rendered it devoid of legitimacy before. This was previously done with the MB’s blessing, but the military has decided to flip flop on that position. This is most evident with the recent decision to write the constitution first and hold legislative elections later. This is not synonymous with the military co-opting liberals for their bidding. Making short-term bets that the MB is the kingmaker in Egypt politicizes the transition process further and shapes it not around Egypt as a state, but rather around what the elections will bring.
The West has been in dire need for an interlocutor, but in looking for one, they have neglected Egypt the state for Egypt the elected executive. Incoming legislative elections may serve as a wakeup call for some especially now that some political forces have begun organizing on the grassroots level. With the moderate performance Hamdeen Sabahy garnered in the first round of elections, he may be a force to be reckoned with, should he decide to pursue his plans to form an umbrella alliance. One may take a cue from the constitutional assembly that decided to withdraw confidence from the Al Nahda party in Tunisia. Conceivably a year from now Egypt may see such a scenario with a Parliament that has a watered down MB presence.
*Though 11 articles were stipulated one of them was the removal of article 179 to do with combating terrorism that was akin to a permanent state of emergency and the other was an article that had a second part (art 189 and 189 bis)
Karim Maged is a Political Analyst. Photo Credit: Getty
Trackback URL for this post:
EgyptSource, a project of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, follows Egypt’s transition and provides a platform for Egyptian perspectives on the major issues – economic, political, legal, religious and human rights – that are at stake in the post-Mubarak era.
If you are interested in submitting an article for publication on EgyptSource, please send an inquiry via email with a short outline of your idea.
The views expressed in EgyptSource are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Atlantic Council, its staff, or its supporters.
Follow us on Twitter: @EgyptSource
Click here to sign up for the weekly EgyptSource newsletter.
Faces of Egypt
Journalist and videographer Abanoub Emad explains the drive behind his work: “I want to cover the truth..If it was just a job for me I wouldn't risk my life, but this is what I want to do…and this is what differentiates the quality of work. You can tell who's doing it for the sake of doing it, and who's doing it because it's what they love to do”
At twenty-two, Amr El Salanekly has won the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative fellowship, co-founded a social incubator and an educational platform for underprivileged kids, turned down a job with Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank, and raised hundreds of thousands of Egyptian pounds for community projects in Egypt.
Check out the rest of the Faces of the New Egypt series here.
About the Contributors
Alaa Al Aswany, the Arab world's bestselling novelist, is the author of The Yacoubian Building, Chicago, and Friendly Fire. His work is published in thirty-one languages worldwide. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Yussef Auf is an Egyptian judge and 2012 Humphrey Fellow at American University’s Washington College of Law. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Constitutional Law and Political Systems at Cairo University. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Amr Hamzawy joined the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the American University in Cairo in 2011, where he continues to serve today. He is a former member of parliament and a member of the National Salvation Front. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Haitham Tabei is a special correspondent for the Washington Post and Asharq Saudi newspaper in Cairo.
Read his EgyptSource posts here.
- The Arabist
- Abu Aardvark (Marc Lynch)
- A Sense of Belonging
- Dalia Ziada
- Daniel W. Drezner
- Democracy Digest
- The Egypt Report
- Egyptian Chronicles
- Felix Arabia
- Foreign Policy Passport
- Foreign Policy Association
- Hossam El-Hamalawy
- MEI Editor’s Blog
- Middle East Post
- Middle East Progress (CAP)
- POMED Wire
- Rantings of a Sandmonkey