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The New Egyptian Constitution: An Outcome of a Complex Political Process

Although constitutions are intended to represent and confirm the spirit of coexistence between classes, sects and various components of society, the campaign and the referendum revealed an entirely different picture. Further complicating the political arena, the referendum effectively caused strife among revolutionary compatriots and opposition forces and engendered a state of polarization across Egyptian society. This turbulent situation requires Egyptians to rapidly initiate genuine nationwide dialogue to deal with the demands and aspirations of different parties and to develop an agenda to achieve the revolutionary goals: bread, freedom, and human dignity.

The New Egyptian Constitution An Outcome of a Complex Political
A elderly woman sits as she queues outside a polling center to vote during a referendum on Egypt’s new constitution in Cairo. REUTERS/ Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi
 

There is no question that the new constitution, in establishing rules that regulate the ruler’s relationship with the ruled, represents a fundamental starting point in Egypt’s effort to build a democratic polity that grants the maximum rights and freedoms to its citizens and ensures the rule of law. Many dreamed that the drafting of the new Egyptian constitution would represent a step towards building the new Egyptian state following the peaceful revolution. Therefore, the drafting process was supposed to manifest a spirit of consensus across the political spectrum following the demise of the authoritarian regime that took away the population’s freedoms and denied them their rights for decades—a regime that intended to continue its corrupt rule by introducing hereditary rule (to Mubarak’s son) through rigged constitutional amendments and false legal procedures.

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