A reader writes:
All the attention is focused on Libya, but the process going forward in Egypt is, so far, extremely impressive. The interim government constituted a technocratic Constitutional Committee with eight members, each of them a preeminent figure in Egyptian legal circles. The Committee's report is due to be floated today and a bit of it has just slipped out to the media in Egypt. It will
a. Abrogate Article 179 (Emergency powers of the President)--i.e., no more dictator as president
b. Amend Articles 76 (Conditions to elect the President), Article 77 (Presidential terms to be limited to two six-year terms), Article 88 (Judicial Supervision over the elections)--clearing obstacles to freely contest the presidency
c. Abrogate Article 93 (The Parliament’s power to decide upon the validity of its MPs’ memberships) and amend 189 (The Parliament and President’s power to amend the constitution)--clearing the way for free contest for parliament So far, this process is moving quickly and smoothly.
Over the weekend, Egyptian newspapers will publish the report. There will be a week for public commentary, and then the report, with possible amendments, will likely be implemented by the interim government. A lot of calls for the Armed Forces to bring in a civilian government led by technocrats without political aspirations. In a sense, that's what they're doing with this committee system. We have a long way to go, but so far I'd say Glenn Beck can choke on it. This is about as sober, serious, secular and focused on real democratic reform as we ever could have hoped for.