Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why Egypt is screwed

New York Times, yesterday --

The new “constitutional declaration” laid out an election schedule that analysts called implausibly speedy. The plan calls for a panel of 10 jurists — 6 judges and 4 law professors — to present a sweeping package of amendments in just one month. A group of 50 representatives of various government institutions, parties, guilds and social groups — including 10 who are either women or young — will then review the text for two months. But it is not clear what power they have to make changes or how they will make their decisions. ...  It is unclear who will select the panel of 10 jurists or the 50 who will review their work on the new charter. Nor is the precise role of those 50 explained. Although normally representatives of the public settle on broad principles for experts to draft into a charter, the new plan calls for the experts to finish their work before the debate can begin, said Zaid Ali, an analyst at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, an intergovernmental group.

New York Times, February 2011 --

CAIRO — The military officers governing Egypt on Tuesday convened a panel of jurists, including an outspoken Muslim Brotherhood politician, to revise the country’s Constitution in the first tangible evidence of a commitment to move the country toward democracy after President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. In an incongruous scene — unimaginable just one month ago — Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the defense minister acting as chief of state, appointed a panel of eight experts led by a retired judge known as a leading critic of the Mubarak government.

In other words, the big plan now -- as two years ago -- is to put Egyptian lawyers in charge of the transition to democracy. In the Arab countries that your intrepid blogger has been to, if you want to kill something, you put Egyptian lawyers in charge of it.