Egypt’s New Protest Law

Nov 25

The “revolutionary” government — headed by the interim President, Adly Mansur, previously president of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, otherwise known as a bastion for liberal and democratic values — has passed a new law titled “Organization of the Right to Public Meetings, Marches and Peaceful Demonstrations.” Here is a link to the official version as published in the Egyptian Gazette.

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Lipset’s Law, Egypt and Democratic Transition

Mar 28

One of the most basic reasons why my judgment on events in Egypt during its post-Mubarak transition differs from that of others is my relative pessimism on what can be achieved in the short-term, other than simply securing the foundations for formal democracy.  Based on that starting point, I have given President Morsi wide leeway, because it seems to me that what he has been attempting to do is no more than establish the foundations for a formal democratic regime, one that no doubt will be greatly troubled and flawed, and will certainly fall short of the aspirations of many “revolutionaries,” particularly the youthful vanguard.

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Criticism of the Proposed IMF Loan to Egypt, reprise

Nov 12

Civil society groups in Egypt have released a letter addressed simultaneously to Hisham Qindil, Egypt’s prime minister, and Christina La Garde, executive director of the International Monetary Fund (the “IMF”), expressing their opposition to the proposed loan.  

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Some Thoughts on the Secular-Religious Divide in Tunisia

Jun 09

Over the last three days (May 31-June 2), I have had the opportunity to discuss the Tunisian Revolution with several Tunisian intellectuals, both religious and secular.  And while it would be presumptuous of me to believe that in three days I am in a position to speak authoritatively about the significance of this divide, and what it means for the future of the Tunisian Revolution, I think it is possible to make a few tentative conclusions. On the positive side of the ledger, there appears to be a genuine desire from both the supporters of the Nahda and the secular parties to make this transition a successful one, despite the profound differences that separate the two sides.  The principle incentive these otherwise warring-sides have to reach some kind of détente that would allow for a modicum of democracy is the fear that Tunisia could relapse to the nightmare of Zayn al-ʻAbidin Ben Ali. 

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