The Constitutional Challenges in Post-Mubarak Egypt

Writing a democratic constitution is the main task in the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. There are many opposing views about many challenging questions in Egypt today. The generals believe that they should remain above civilian control while democrats argue that the army is no different than other state institutions and hence should be subject to the scrutiny of elected representatives. In regard to the role of Islam in politics, some argue for full implementation of Sharia, while others advocate a completely secular state. Many want to scrap altogether the centralized presidential system in favor of a parliamentary regime while others are afraid that a Westminster form of government might not be suitable to Egypt's current stage of political development. This paper argues that compromise and accommodation are much needed to write a constitution that garners respect of all Egyptians. This can be done despite the extremely short time available, provided the main players do not adhere to a zero-sum mindset and look at the constitution as a living document.

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