I frequently browse through Egypt's State Information Services online page - just reading headlines and general information pages (I find it interesting to see how the sympathies change as the political tides turn).
While it is usually pretty clear which side they are on, the Mubarak vs Morsi biographies in the "Former Presidents
" page makes no attempt to show fair reporting. On former President Mubarak:
- As Egypt's President, he played a supportive role for peace in the Arab world. He was known for his supportive stance for the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.
- Mohammed Hosni Mubarak became Egypt's president in a public referendum after the People's Assembly nominated him for the post. Then he was re-elected for new presidential terms in 1987, 1993 and 1999
- Mubarak was re-elected for a new presidential term in 2005 in the first multi-candidate elections that Egypt witnesses after the constitutional amendment which made choosing the president by direct secret balloting
- In February 2011, Mubarak stepped down and entrusted the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to take over the duties of the president after the January 25th Revolution in 2011 which called for toppling the regime.
- His term in office has witnessed the establishment of many vital projects such as the Underground in Cairo and Giza, Al-Salam Lake in Sinai, Toshki and East of Owainat, the reconstruction of Halayb and the projects of youths housing.
It then goes on to state, as a side note at end of article, that he was "sentenced to life in prison for complicity in killing peaceable protesters via agreement, incitement or assistance" On former President Morsi:
- Provides an overview of his education and academic career
- The Egyptians toppled Morsi regime after the overwhelming demonstrations on 30/6/2013 and lasted until 3/7/2013 followed by the Armed Forces statement that ended his term as a result of his severe failure in the management of the State, and his policies that led to the division of society, offending State institutions and minimizing Egypt's foreign role.
No fan of either guy, but I think State Information Services makes it's sympathies very clear. While, in my view, the Ministry of Information needs to be totally abolished - at least we can attempt to give off an air of non-partisanship and sticking to the truth.
"Example consitution-making process sequencing and timing" as recommended by Secretary General's office. I am assuming we probably don't need every single step listed here but to be this far off is troubling...
The full report
outlines the principles that the UN has found beneficial through their experience, I don’t see us including many of them…
Additionally, below is a document "Constitution Building Processes and Democratization: A Discussion of Twelve Case Studies" - I think Rwanda is an interesting example.
Popular consultation certainly brought about public support for a Rwanda constitution, as it did in South Africa—another country with a highly participatory process. In contrast, the people have strongly rejected the constitutions in Nigeria and Bahrain, which were not at all participatory for the very reason that they were imposed on, rather than made by, the people.
The below paper as an extremely interesting assessment of case studies (including those above) and tries to identify some trends..
The cases reviewed in the IDEA study also emphasized that frequently the conflicts resulted from, or were exacerbated by, stark elite-population divisions. Thus, any chance of long-term resolution of such conflicts would require the sort of dialogue and negotiation that was rendered possible by the participatory national dialogue processes. (I think this is pretty applicable to Egypt, particularly with relation to the labor strikes – also, another paper I read stated that
In the study, the more representative and more inclusive constitution building processes resulted in constitutions favoring free and fair elections, greater political equality, more social justice provisions, human rights protections, and stronger accountability mechanisms. In contrast, processes dominated by one interest or faction tended to result in constitutions favoring that interest or entrenching power in the hands of certain groups. Moreover, the more participatory processes initiated a dialogue and began a process of democratic education in societies that had not had political freedom or the chance to shape the governance of their state in the past. The participatory processes seem to have empowered the people.
Encarnación has argued that the key difference between the two outcomes is the question of who participated in the bargaining cartel. In Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil the pact-making was elite-driven and secretive with few powerful actors, including the outgoing regime, whereas in Spain the bargaining group included practically the whole “ideological spectrum.” Thus, negotiations that involve a small number of elite participants, seek to impose long-term power divisions, restrict the policy agenda, and limit government accountability to the broader population, should be avoided as they undermine the quality of the democracy created in the long-term.
Look, I don’t know close to enough about law but almost every paper, assessment, article etc. etc. I have read ALL point to the fact that the constitution building process needs to involve the public, have multiple drafts, etc. etc. and that this is crucial to a successful outcome.
HOWEVER, to be fair and present the counter-argument, the following paper states, in summary, in certain circumstances, direct mass participation appears manipulable, and in poorly institutionalized environments mass participation can actually help contribute to a democratic breakdown" in which "“threat-based bargaining” occurs - where both sides attempted to mobilize portions of the masses in order to pressure the other side into a favorable deal
Finally, the evidence here helps qualify one of the more important normative recommendations from existing work: that constitution-making should be highly participatory. Participation in constitution-making is said to increase the legitimacy of the constitution-making process, improve the quality of the product, and to increase the civic virtue of citizens. Further, some scholars led by Thomas Franck have asserted that there is an emerging norm of customary international law that constitution-making be a very participatory process. These scholarly views in favor of participation are closely linked to the dualist theory of democracy, which holds that constitution-making moments are qualitatively different from ordinary political moments.
Empirical evidence on these claims about the value of participation is mixed. There are cases where high degrees of public participation have been successfully integrated into constitution-making processes: South Africa is a well-known example. The fascinating process in Iceland, where the drafting council is making massive use of social media to get input into the process, may be another. However, one large-n empirical study of post-conflict constitution-making found that levels of participation had no effect on post-constitution-making levels of violence in many regions of the world. Further, Moehler’s detailed fieldwork in Uganda found that citizens who had participated in that country’s constitution-making process actually developed lower levels of trust in government than their fellow-citizens who had participated less.204 Rather than instilling a sense of civic virtue, participation disenchanted citizens by acquainting them with a dysfunctional political system.
Levels of participation in the examples studied for this paper were not highly correlated with the values attributed to participation. It is commonly noted in the literature that forms of participation such as referenda may have little effect on the process, because they may be too manipulable to control power. But more hands-on forms of constitution-making like civil society participation may also do little to enhance either the quality or legitimacy of the constitutional product. In Venezuela, very high levels of participation by civil society had no real impact on the final product but rather tended to affect peripheral provisions that were unimportant to Chavez and which constituted mere window-dressing. High levels of civil society participation did not prevent the constitution from being used to impose a competitive authoritarian regime.
Bolivia offers a more important point: very high levels of participation, at least in a polarized political environment, may make constitution-making much more difficult and may thus threaten a breakdown of order. Elster and others have noted that conducting deliberations in public may sometimes make agreement more difficult because representatives working under the conditions may stick to their principles and be unwilling to make hard political compromises.208 what happened in Bolivia is more what Elster calls “threat-based bargaining”: both sides attempted to mobilize portions of the masses in order to pressure the other side into a favorable deal.209 The trouble is that this is a dangerous game, in two senses. First, as Elster notes the masses on each side, once mobilized and ideologically charged, may narrow the range of possible agreement, perhaps even causing it to disappear entirely.
Bolivian delegates were unwilling to make deals that they otherwise would have cut for fear of angering their mass supporters. Second, the mobilized masses might start agitating for their own purposes and not those of the political elites. In Bolivia, the assembly essentially broke down over an issue, the location of the capital city, which was pushed by the masses in Sucre rather than by any of the party elites. These conditions—highly mobilized and polarized mass supporters—may be fairly common during regime changes in the developing world. As noted below, in some respects Egypt may combine similarly high levels of participation with significant polarization.211 And constitutional moments combine sets of factors that may make mass participation particularly difficult to process: mass expectations are often unrealistically high, and there are no institutional frameworks capable of channeling the public’s demands.
None of this indicates that mass participation is a bad idea under all circumstances. But it may help qualify its utility: in certain circumstances, direct mass participation appears manipulable, and in poorly institutionalized environments mass participation can actually help contribute to a democratic breakdown.
So we can see that the percentage of governors who were former military has decreased substantially since the uprising – from 20/27 position (75%) to 14/27 (52%). However, it is interesting to note that 4 of the new appointments are clear MB sympathizers, with strong ties to the organization.
Additionally, Osama Kamal (who is the Engineers Syndicate undersecretary) won the election by running on the Brotherhood ticket - but he has not been classified as specifically MB based as he does not have direct ties/membership with the group.
The four new MB members are detailed in the below table:
Finally, a detailed list of all the governors color coded by type, can be found below:
| |Report 1: Brutality unpunished and unchecked: Egypt’s military kills and torture protesters with impunity
highlights patterns of violations at three key demonstrations, and documents the brutal crackdown unleashed by the army during the 16-month rule by the SCAF.
It focuses on:
- The Maspero protests of October 2011, when 27 mainly Coptic Christian protesters were killed;
- Events outside the Cabinet Offices in December 2011, when 17 protesters died;
- The Abbaseya sit-in in May 2012, when up to 12 people were killed.
| |Report 2: Agents of repression: Egypt’s police and the case for reform
, outlines the total impunity enjoyed by the three main police forces in Egypt – the Central Security Forces (CSF), widely known as the riot police; the General Investigations Police, Egypt’s national police force; and the abolished State Security Investigation (SSI) service, highlighting the urgent need for sweeping reform of the police force.
The report focuses on three key events:
- Police violence during clashes with protesters at Mohamed Mahmoud Street near the Ministry of Interior in November 2011.
- Police abuses during protests in the same street following the killings of Al-Ahly football club supporters in February 2012.
- Police violence during clashes in front of Nile City Towers, in Cairo, in August 2012.
Report 1: Brutality unpunished and unchecked: Egypt’s military kills and torture protesters with impunity
Report 2: Agents of repression: Egypt’s police and the case for reform
Maybe I am missing something, but I do not see how the election law can be considered unconstitutional when the constitution clearly stated that the law will determine the electoral system. (and is remiscient of the judiciary's push - which was reinfoced today - to allow Shafiq to run, see here) The decision to dissolve parliament by the court was said to be because "the law governing the parliamentary elections was ruled unconstitutional by a lower court because it breached the principle of equality when it allowed party members to contest a third of seats set aside for independents." This was upheld by the Supreme Constitutional Court.
- However, Article 38 of the constitutional deceleration from March specially states:
ينظم القانون حق الترشيح لمجلسى الشعب والشورى وفقا لأى نظام انتخابى يحدده . ويجوز أن يتضمن حدا أدنى لمشاركة المرأة فى المجلسين (AR: http://ow.ly/bAcDC)
"The law (according to ANY electoral provisions/system) determines the conditions that must be met for members of the People's Assembly and Shoura Councils - but it must ensure that females can run in both upper and lower house elections"
- Initially in September an electoral law was passed that reserved one-third of the seats in parliament to be elected as independents, with candidates affiliated with parties banned from contesting them.
- However, that was amended in October after SCAF agreed, in a document signed by the participating parties, to alter the law and allow members of political parties to run for the seats to be filled on a first-past-the-post basis. The deceleration stated:
"Approval for amending the fifth article of the parliamentary elections law to match the views of the political forces to allow single-seat nominations for political parties candidates." (http://ow.ly/bAd8w)
The only stipulation of equality in the constitution was that women would be allowed to run (one could assume this extended to religions too). How allowing certain people to run (i.e. not barring party candidates) is claimed as inequality is beyond me! I would have understood more if the ruling was that the 2/3 of parliament seats that were designated for party candidates barred non-party candidates from running which could potentially be seen as inequality for non-party members.The only possible explanation I can imagine is if they say that the only equal electoral law is to have the seats 50/50 split between party and individual based but they should have made that clear if that was the case and not waste all of our time and the state's money in running these elections - rather, ensuring that the law was amended at the time and "equal" elections were run.
The Supreme Constitutional Court is the highest judicial power in Egypt and, it alone undertakes the judicial control in respect of the constitutionality of the laws and regulations and shall undertake interpretation of legislative texts. I cannot fathom how they interpreted this one.Finally, Clause 30 in the constitution states:"يؤدى الرئيس أمام مجلس الشعب قبل أن يباشر مهام منصبه اليمين""The president will take the following oath before the People's Assembly before assuming his position"We will see how keen the judiciary is in upholding the constitution rather than abusing it for the benefit of the powers that be.
Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. - John Adams
You can download the above document from this link here
For me it is about making a statement regarding the principles we want to see in Egypt and the vision for a future. The dirty game of politics (campaign financing, false promises, being two faced) always weeds out the good men - we have a chance here to vote for one.
Moreover, there will most likely be a runoff election at which point you can choose the lesser of two evils; at that point when you choose the lesser of two evils, at least remember that it is still an evil.
The only actual argument I have ever heard against Bastwisy in terms of capabilities or principles is that he is too weak to be president of this country. However, have we not tried "strong" men across the region, for decades? How well has that served us? Moreover, we have seen weak, sheepish men turn into strong men in their own countries, albeit negatively, as is the case with Asad in Syria.
One would hope that with fairness, justice and reformation of institutions that we could see him gain strength from the populace itself.
Platform Summary (also in document above):
- Calls for the Egyptian military to be held accountable for crimes since taking power in February 2011
- Labels education a top priority, and advocates free public education for all Egyptian citizens through high school
- Says drafting a new constitution is the country’s top priority
- Dismisses secularist fears of Islamic rule, saying that Article 2 of the 1971 Constitution makes Islamic jurisprudence the principle source but not the sole source of legislation in Egypt
- Says renegotiating the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty is an Egyptian right, but argues canceling the treaty would damage Egypt’s international standing
- Supports renegotiating or abolishing gas exports to Israel
- Advocates a mixed system of presidential and parliamentary power
Click on image below for larger version
I see this directly tied to their control of the economy… Without having oversight via an independent, non-military governor there is no way that military influence is checked. Rather, these governors facilitate the expansion of the military’s economic reach on a local level, which is compounded by their (hopefully previous) unchecked influence on the executive branch.
From January to August 2011 (appointments by Mubarak during uprising to appease demands of protesters) there were 20 military governors – constituting 74% of the total governors. From September 2011 through today, there are 14 military governors*, constituting 54% of the total positions. Some additional notes/caveats:
* Cairo and Alexandria, while they have non-military governors, they do have deputy governors that are military - thus, I have counted them as military governorates as I find it hard to believe that the doctors would trump the say of the military. I could be wrong but that is my assumption for now which is reinforced by the alleged influence General Sayed El-Barie had when he was secretary general of Giza (superseding the governor himself on a decision.
Story worth reading just to see who exactly is being appointed to these positions: When Aswan’s Sayed El-Barie was also Secretary General of Giza – and there is testimony from people at the time that he would only let projects be given to “select” companies - http://today.almasryalyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=48491&IssueID=588
The list in "previous governorates" column is nowhere near complete. I was just curious as to whether there would be any cross-over from one appointment to the next and, not surprisingly, there is – and quite a bit of it at that. The governors with previous roles written next to them are simply spot checks, I would guess that all the others have had “civilian” leadership roles in one way or another (deputy governors, secretary generals, etc.)
The New Valley governorate takes up approximately 50% (44% to be exact) of Egypt's landmass - that one is not only headed by a general, but by a (former) member of SCAF
Playlist of six videos covering Mubarak motorcades. In the first video I count about 110 vehicles (including motorcycles) and the in the second I count 83 vehicles and 12 motorcycles
It is a side point given everything else, but just another illustration of how dissociated our former leadership was with reality - the sense of self-aggrandizement and the squandering of funds that could benefit the population as a whole. (Yes, not like these cars can feed the country but it illustrates the mentality behind purchasing decisions the government took - i.e. spare no costs for the Mubaraks).
The above video shows the sheer scale of Egypt's (i.e. Mubarak's) presidential motorcade, it is almost unfathomable. Many of us have been stuck in traffic for hours (I can remember several myself) due to his royal highness' desire to go from point A to point B. “When Mr Mubarak travelled his entourage included scores of cars. Any time he crossed Cairo, much of the capital would be roped off with traffic stopped for half an hour before he passed and 10,000 policemen standing along the route. Sharp shooters stood on the rooftops, a helicopter circled overhead and an ambulance accompanied him. A recent inventory of the presidential vehicle pool under Mr Mubarak released in Egyptian newspapers said that it included 950 vehicles. Other African leaders might well note, however, that Mr Mubarak is no longer in power.”
So in the video above he merely took out a little less than 10% of the total inventory. Just for comparison's sake, compare this to other world leaders:
1. President of the United States
: Wikipedia states that the presidential motorcade consists of "about 45 vehicles" - I have seen the president drive back into the White House and the number was considerably less than that but I guess it depends on the occasion.
Based on this
video, there appear to be about 10 vehicles and 5 motorcycles3. Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni: Takes between eight or nine cars, a couple of mine-resistant South African armoured personnel carriers and a large silver Mercedes truck with a mobile lavatory4. Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: On a trip to church he took three four-wheel-drives from the Special Security Service, two pickup trucks from the Liberian national police, and an off-roader carrying Nigerian troops from the United Nations peacekeeping mission5. Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe: Travels with two motorcyclists up front who clear the road, arriving at high speed then stopping by their road, their lights flashing and sirens blaring. Three blacked-out Mercedes saloons follow, one with the number plate "Zim1". Finally two pick-up trucks appear, with ten or more armed guards in them.6. King Mswati III of Swaziland. The Swazi regal convoy can be up to 20 cars long. The king's favourite vehicles include a $625,000 Rolls Royce, a $500,000 Maybach 62 and a BMW X6. He also has 20 Mercedes Benz S600 Pullman Guards, costing $250,000 each, many of them armoured. Warrior guards in traditional dress including an "Emajobo" or loin skin travel with the king.7. Sierra Leone's Koroma:
"A motorcyclist came first. Mr Koroma followed in a Mercedes saloon. Most of the other six vehicles in the procession were gleaming black 70 Series Toyota Land Cruisers."
8. Valdimir Putin, Russia:
Finally, found someone to compete with our scale. This video here
shows about 85 vehicles (and seems there were some more following), others show about 30-50 (here and here)... I suppose we kept that tradition from our alliance to the USSR days...
9. Saudi Arabia's King Abdallah:
The videos make it hard to count (as they are filmed from within) but looks to be quite the motorcade... (See here
)Source: Economist article for Mubarak and African leaders
While I am not saying that the MB are already the NDP, one cannot deny that granting the group complete control over the executive and legislative branches of government (taking into account the historic lack of judiciary to be indpendent) will inevitably lead to a similar political situation. Let us stop relying on new names/faces to be better than those before them rather than changing the system to ensure that the new politicians cannot repeat past transgressions. Ensuring competition and setting up checks/balances is the first step in doing so.
I tend to believe that, if Clinton, Kennedy, Chirac, etc. - or most "great" world leaders - were in systems that enabled them to be dictators and command unbridled power they would have. It is not that French or American or Indian politicians are inherently "better" or less corrupt than their Egyptian counterparts but rather that the system is setup to prevent them from indulging in these tendencies.
- Active competition weakens the ability of any one interest or faction to dominate its own arena and to intrude unduly upon the workings of the other. Moreover, citizens who have real economic and political alternatives will be less vulnerable to exploitation, and thus in a better position to resist corruption and respond effectively to it.
- In the US, the seperation of powers and bicameralism are competitive devices, as are the system of checks and balances implemented through the constitution.
- When protected from competition, even talented and well-intentioned public officials are motivated to act in ways intended to increase their income, authority, prestige, or leisure (Borcherding 1977).
- Competition brings out the best in people and organizations, not because it appeals to greed or selfishness, but because the desire to innovate, earn the esteem of others, and be best in one’s field is deeply and widely instilled (Olson 2000; Novak 1996).
- “[Competition is] superior not only because it is in most circumstances the most efficient method known but even more because it is the only method by which our activities can be adjusted to each other without coercive or arbitrary intervention of authority.” (Hayek, The Road to Serfdom)
- "Democracy is a competitive political system in which competing leaders and organizations define the alternatives of public policy in such a way that the public can participate in the decision-making process." (Schattschneider, 1960)
- "Modern political democracy is a system of governance in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public realm by citizens, acting indirectly through the competition and cooperation of their elected representatives." (Schmitter and Karl, 1991)
Ideally, over time an independent judiciary would help accomplish this (as occurred in the US during Marbury vs. Madison legal battle
) in which "Chief Justice John Marshall established the principle of judicial review, an important addition to the system of “checks and balances” created to prevent any one branch of the Federal Government from becoming too powerful." However, it is important to note that the judiciary as a third branch of government was not ingrained in the US constitution but rather was fought for by the courts themselves.
Pretty sad - the chart/numbers speak for themselves...
Data from Inter-Parliamentary Union (www.ipu.org) and Al Masry Al Youm article for Egypt
Now just to compare global regions - we can see that the Arab countries fare quite poorly (and Egypt sits at the bottom of those unfortunately)... Also, interestingly, the Nordic countries are far ahead of the rest of the world in female representation, almost providing them equal opportunity (assuming a 50/50 population split)... For a full list of percent female representation by country please see here... A more detailed analysis (i.e. breakdown by upper and lower houses for a select subset of countries can be found here) Just to compare to US congress see below, since US just tends to have very easily accessbile data (as illustrated by this report)