The Constitution As Smokescreen

by Patrick Appel

Mubarak promised a few constitutional reforms, but those don't neccessarily mean anything, as Tamir Moustafa makes clear:

[T]he legal conundrums that Egypt faces are far deeper than the constitution. The regime has spun out illiberal legislation for decades, making constitutional guarantees on fundamental rights ring hollow. Laws regulating the press, political parties, police powers, elections, trade unions, non-governmental organizations, and just about every other area of political and social life are designed to strengthen the hand of the executive. These are precisely the laws that political activists challenged in the courts over the past three decades, but the same dynamic always played out:  When litigation succeeded in striking down legislation, the regime would simply use its rubber-stamp People's Assembly to hammer through new legislation, often times more illiberal than the last iteration.