Politics Magazine

Things That Transnational Civil Society Could Do to Support Egypt

Posted on the 30 June 2011 by Warigia @WarigiaBowman
Well, we had an interesting class discussion yesterday evening.
I was with Dr. Jerry Leach, Dr. Jennifer Bremer in my department (Public Policy and Administration Department), as well as an Egyptian director of an organization at the Kennedy School, Ashraf Hegazy. There were about 10 Egyptian masters students present. (I teach a leadership course)
Here are some of the ideas we had regarding how international civil society organizations could support Egypt in its transition to democracy.
1) Egyptian citizens need a lot of work on dialoguing about issues. Due to the 30 years of dictatorship, Egyptians have little experience with actually discussing politics in a civil way.
2) Civil society could provide technical support in helping new parties to prepare for the upcoming elections.
3) Clearly, there needs to be significant support for women's participation in Egyptian politics.
4) Elections should be held on time in the fall, so that the military is replaced with a civilian government. Even if the NDP and the MB are elected, if it is a fair election, it is likely preferable to an unelected military regime.
5) There needs to be research on how other African countries have rewritten their constitutions. In the recent past, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa have undergone successful efforts at redeveloping constitutions. Egypt is Arab, but it is also African. It could learn from its neighbors to the South.
6) Writing the constitution is a long term process. The current constitution is flawed, but it works. It would be advisable to take a long term view. There need to be procedural safeguards so that the process is somewhat representative, at least regionally. In addition, in my view, it would be desirable to have special attention paid to the needs of minorities like the Nubians, and Christians. Furthermore, attention should be paid to the role of women in the Egyptian state.  
7) Focus needs to be placed on strengthening parties, organizations and institutions so that Egypt can have substantive democracy. There need to be institutions, such as the judiciary and a parliament, that place a check on the President. Egypt had formal, paper institutions under Mubarak, but they were weak. How do we strengthen them, so that people have a real voice, and that another dictatorship does not emerge?
8) As Professor Jerry Leach pointed out, the way the elections are currently structured, Egypt may be inadvertently backing itself into a presidential system, and crippling future efforts to have a possible parliamentary system.
Thanks to AnnaMaria Shaker of Human Rights First for making me put my thoughts down in an organized way.
Salam, WMB

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • For Egypt, Investing Not Spending

    Egypt, Investing Spending

    Street vendors from Beni Suef, Egypt offer feedback on a draft law governing street vendors at a meeting held by CIPE partner the Federation of Economic... Read more

    By  Center For International Private Enterprise
  • An African in Egypt

    African Egypt

    A bad thing happened on Friday. My Sudanese nanny, Suzy, was the victim of a pretty serious racist incident. Suzy is south Sudanese, of the Dinka people. She wa... Read more

    By  Warigia
  • Support The People's Project

    I just received the following email from Andrew Gavin Marshall, an independent researcher and writer. Readers may remember him from the recent interview entitle... Read more

    By  Devondb
  • Governance, Accountability and Stakeholders in Egypt

    This semester I am teaching a class at the American University in Cairo called "Governance, Accountability, and Stakeholder Negotiation. It is a masters level... Read more

    By  Warigia
  • Election Deadline in Egypt

    Today's papers are abuzz with the two-day extension granted by the High Elections Commission to prospective parliamentary candidates. Read more

    By  Warigia
  • Wither Democracy in Egypt?

    Wither Democracy Egypt?

    Much has been written about the euphoria surrounding the ousting of Mubarak and the reality of making reforms work in the post-Mubarak era. The lesson that... Read more

    By  Center For International Private Enterprise
  • The Need for an Economic Vision for Egypt

    Need Economic Vision Egypt

    Record numbers of Egyptians turned out Monday and Tuesday for the country's first democratic elections in decades. (Photo: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters) When Egyptian... Read more

    By  Center For International Private Enterprise

Paperblog Hot Topics