Six months into the presidency of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s new constitution has granted the Egyptian Armed Forces (EAF) greater autonomy and a more formal political role than they ever enjoyed under his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. Morsi and the Islamist majority in the Constituent Assembly may have found it expedient to agree to the EAF’s terms in order to ensure the forces’ neutrality in the current phase of the country’s democratic transition, but this will prove costly.
Mammoth tasks lie ahead for Egypt’s new, democratically elected civilian authorities. They will need to change how the state-owned commercial sector and public enterprises work in order to unlock the national economy’s potential for sustained and equitable growth. The state’s massive civilian bureaucracy desperately needs sweeping administrative reform. And the civilian authorities will have to democratize and decentralize the country’s local government structure from top to bottom.