diciembre 10, 2012

Constitutional Reforms in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan: A Comparative Assessment

(Publisher:  European Institute of the Mediterranean www.iemed.org)

Author: Gallala-Arndt, Imen

The peoples of the Middle East and North Africa (the MENA region) ousted dictators who had been thought impossible to overthrow. The youth took to the streets and demanded equity, freedom and democracy. As the interdependence of the two shores of the Mediterranean is undeniable, following and sustaining the democratic process on the southern shore to the greatest extent possible must be one of the highest priorities of the Euromed Partnership. Prosperity and democracy on the northern shore of the Mediterranean cannot be stable as long as the closest neighbours in the South are still striving vainly to achieve those goals.

The upheavals and revolts for more economic justice and political participation in the Arab world will not bear fruit if they are not consolidated with constitutional reforms. The transformation of the demands into law is what will give them the chance to be satisfied.

The Arab Spring led to different results. In Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the revolts culminated in the overthrow of dictators and a change in regime. In other parts of the southern Mediterranean, the revolts spurred the governing elite to calm people with subsidies and specific economic aid or by introducing reforms in the regime.

In Jordan and Morocco, the kings sought to pre-empt the discontent in the streets by amending the old constitutions. In Tunisia and Egypt, where the change was to be radical, it was decided to draft new ones. Of course, drafting a new constitution is a long process. The specific conditions of these four countries – monarchies and republics respectively – may explain the different outcomes of their popular revolts.


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