Demonstrators take part in a protest marking the first anniversary of Egypt's uprising at Tahrir square in Cairo 25/01/2012. (photo by REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)

A New Order in Egypt

Author: alkhaleej

One of the biggest challenges facing Egypt’s January 25 revolution is perhaps the [political system] that naturally opposes it. This [systemic] challenge, which is undoubtedly the largest political struggle in Egypt, has returned [to the scene along with the greater struggle facing the country]. It has returned in force, raising controversy, anxiety and fear of the future regarding the outcome of the elections. [These elections] revealed the victory of Islamic forces and their control over the Egyptian parliament. This time, the fear stems from democracy, or the so-called tyranny of the majority brought about by the democratic elections. This fear is justified by the absence of restrictions [and regulations] on [the democratic process]. [The current process] may allow the new majority to easily become tyrannical. It is as if the elections, or rather, the revolution, has but replaced one tyrannical system by another.

SummaryPrint The greatest task facing those who wish to see real change in Egypt is to redefine a system of governance which has been inherently opposed to the concept of revolution for decades. Egypt possesses everything it needs to put a new order in place - but it must now determine what this new order will look like, writes Dr. Naji Sadeq Sharab.
TranslatorSami-Joe Abboud

Hence, it is important to find a constitutional solution. [This solution involves] placing all types of [political/religious persuasions] in a modern, civilized and democratic constitution that reflects the [peculiarities] of the Egyptian case, and not those of the [Muslim Brotherhood], the Salafists or any other political power or bloc. [If this type of accord is not reached], the revolution will continue - with an increased risk of violence. [This violence] would require military intervention, leaving the [political] system worse off than ever before and torpedoing all of the gains from the revolution.

The biggest challenge has to do with [determining] the power and nature of the appropriate and adequate political system. [It is about defining the political system] through which Egypt can turn away from being a weak state that [needs] a strong government, into a strong Egypt that embraces a [diminished] government. Reaching the latter case is imperative.

The revolution in Egypt, which toppled an authoritarian, one-man, one party rule, needs a new system of governance to turn it into one of the most democratic countries. Indeed, Egypt holds every asset necessary to reach a [state of] democratic governance, and [it fulfills] every requirement that is necessary [for it to have] an excellent regional role and status.

Without a democratic system that takes into account Egypt's historical, geographical, cultural and demographic complexities, Egypt will not be able to return to this role - lost for many years due to the decades-long prevailing [state structure].

There is no perfect system of governance. Perfection depends on performance and achievements, as well as on [the ability to] adapt politically to a rapidly changing environment. Moreover, the required system of governance is the one which has been imposed by the new political environment created by the Egyptian revolution. This environment is evolving and dynamic by nature. Its elements are numerous and interrelated, and none of them can be excluded from the political scene. Another requirement [of this new system of governance] is that it be related to the sovereignty of the revolutionary legitimacy. It may take long to make room for electoral legitimacy, and for the strong desires that accompanied the revolution. [This revolution] has been calling for a parliamentary system. The rapid emergence of this call is due to the [nature of the] previous regime’s one-man rule.

Thus, once the parliamentary elections determined that it was likely for the Islamic forces to score a big win, discussions began once again with regards to the kind of system that Egypt and the revolution were asking for. [This discussion] has led to one which is comparing and differentiating between parliamentary and the presidential systems which prevailed in Egypt since the revolution of July 1952.

Once again, I wonder  what Egypt wants: Is it the parliamentary or the presidential system? [Many factors will play into this decision]: The Egyptian parliamentary and presidential experience, the revolution and the major changes it provoked in the Egyptian political environment, the impossibility of a return to the former regime, the weakness of democratic culture in Egypt and the dominance of the religious factor in the political behavior of the Egyptian citizen, the Egyptian demography, the historical role of the Copts in Egyptian political life and the fear of the parliamentary majority tyranny. [Given these factors], a presidential system restricted by a strong parliament may be the most suitable option for Egypt, and that most suitable for solving the ongoing, raging and unrestrained revolutionary crisis.

One question remains unanswered in Egypt: What if the [new] president is a [Muslim] Brother, a Salafist, or someone supported by them? In such a circumstance, the many and varied elements of Egyptian democracy will need to be strengthened and enforced [in order for democracy to be protected].

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Published Sharjah, U.A.E. Established 1970
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