Mar 17, 2011

Democracy and the future of Egypt

Democracy is not just about the right to vote and respecting the other voice, it is predominantly about strong institutions, rule of law and the separation of powers within a society. The question we should ask ourselves does voting yes in Saturdays referendum put us on a path that guarantees that or not.

It seems the debate we have been seeing over the last two weeks in Egypt is focused only about the right to vote, the right of Egyptians to vote, the ability to respect the other parties opinion. Which is all nice and dandy if we choose a transitionary path that ensures we have the foundations for success.

As I look at the proposed amendments to the disabled constitution of Egypt, my stomach crunches. It is not just the legal mess that the army has created. On one have we can vote yes to reenact a modified version terrible constitution to act as our guideline in this very sensitive transitionary period. Voting down the referendum will result in giving us a chance to come up with a better permanent solution. It doesn't mean we will, it just means we won't settle for a butchered constitution.

I implore you Egyptians in Egypt, to remember when you are voting that they are not just voting for yourselves, but also for the millions of Egyptians overseas that do not have the opportunity. I ask them you to remember that this is not an election to ensure that your vote is not forged. This is an election that will allow us for the first time in decades, to rewrite our social contract into one that allows for separation of power, rule of law and strong institutions. An election that will either put us on the path of success or ram us back to the path of oblivion of the last 57 years.