Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The constitution must come first! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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These days, the Arab Spring is passing through “different” stages. Each Arab Spring state has started to develop symptoms that are dominating the situation, grabbing and diverting attention away from the snappy slogans of the various revolutions. Tunisia is suffering severely from an extremist, hard-line, repulsive Takfirist religious discourse that does not accept any other voice but its own, and only accepts “practical” changes in the situation that are introduced by its own hand. This discourse believes that everything outside its own particular viewpoint is unacceptable and unconvincing.

This vengeful current emerged to join the situation that previously existed in the current between the Islamists and the liberal forces. Yet, these two sides are quite aware that this new trend is a “major threat” to Tunisia’s social conditions and security, which had never experienced such excessive zeal before. It seems that this issue will be the “most violent test” of rule in Tunisia.

As for the situation in Egypt, the regime is implicated in everything that is happening there as a result of the recent presidential decrees, which are the embodiment of autocracy and monopolization of rule in a country that has well-established institutes (even if there are some defects in their performance). These decisions did not just aim to dismiss the General Prosecutor, as was claimed, but will serve as a preliminary step that may be followed by other similar decrees to dismiss the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, the Pope of the Coptic Church and all members of the Constitutional Court! This means that the president of Egypt now holds absolute power in an unprecedented manner, at least formalistically.

In Libya, there is clear security unrest and a power struggle between different sectors of government, sometimes that has led to a lack of trust between different governmental parties. This needs to be addressed immediately and comprehensively.

As for Yemen, the parliament is still “absent” and the government is “not attentive” with regards to the powers it was granted, whilst the opposition continues to “exploit” the situation. This is a state of affairs that must ultimately lead to a paralyzed state, and therefore one that is unable to manage the country’s affairs.

In Syria, the frantic regime continues to claim the lives of its own people mercilessly and without leniency. In fact, this is a “farewell” that all tyrannical regimes attempt before leaving power in order to complete their “mission” of comprehensively “destroying” the country, ensuring that it is preoccupied with rebuilding for the next dozen years, which in turn completely exhaust the country’s budget and causes its people to incur increasing debts. Therefore, it will be impossible for the regimes that succeeds the criminal al-Assad to consider liberating the occupied Golan Heights, and so the existing regime is accomplishing its spiteful task in terms of the “resistance” until the last moment.

In Kuwait, the government and the opposition seem to have reached an impasse with regards to the election system. The opposition does not acknowledge the “one man, one vote” system, considering this to be unfair to it, despite the fact that this is the fairest system in the world.

As for Jordan, it has also witnessed some segments of society rejecting the new election system for various reasons. However, it has been widely reported that President Mursi’s recent decree came as a heavy blow to the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait and Jordan, dampening public support for the Brotherhood.

All these problems clarify one vital issue, namely that the lack of a constitution – which is something that is not present in Arab culture – is the source of all this political chaos, allowing violations as well as a severe mix-ups regarding rights and duties.

I am almost certain that the coming era will be one of legal figures dedicated to drawing up constitutions and systems of rule that can guarantee rights in an explicit manner, as well as clarifying the role of the state and its citizen by eliminating any misconception, autocracy or corruption, at least theoretically.

We are now facing the stage of “establishing our rights”, and this is something that can put an end to the existing controversy and quarrels between the various parties. When this is achieved, this will be the grand prize of democracy. Elections without constitutions or ruling regimes will doubtlessly be imperfect and lacking an ultimate goal. Therefore, the Arab Spring will continue until this extremely significant goal is accomplished, and the days to come will be full of surprises.