Op-ed review: The story of Egyptian constitutions

Op-ed review: The story of Egyptian constitutions


Ammar Ali Hassan

Al Watan Newspaper

Columnist Ammar Ali Hassan surveys several books written on the different Egyptian constitutions starting from the time of Mohamed Ali and lists ten points on why these books are relevant in contemporary Egypt. The books he reviewed include a book written by journalist Mohamed Hammad, Albert Shoqeir’s “Egyptian constitution and participatory governance in Egypt from 1866 until now”, and Maher Hassan’s “The story of Egyptian constitutions in 200 years”, which lists drafts of constitutions from 1805 till 2012.

1-      He explains that these books deepen society’s political and social constitutional knowledge, which in turn encourages political activism and awareness, allowing people to be involved in decision-making and accountability of those in power.

2-      Hassan believes that these books allow people to draw comparisons between modern constitutions and older ones, so as to tell whether the country is moving forward or not.

3-      Through reading these books, people are capable to compare between constitutional texts and their application in real life. This in turn reveals whether different governments were vigilant in affecting real change or not.

4-      Reading the different constitutions allow people to determine the important historical moments in the history of Egypt.

5-      The analyses of these constitutions would allow people to discern the relationship between those in power and the weaker classes of the community.

6-      The evolution of constitutions allows people to understand the development of the political and social systems in Egypt, which helps concerned organisations to track changes within society and determine their goals.

7-      The constitution is a way to determine the success of the revolution. If the new constitution holds articles concerned with the demands of the revolution, then this is an indication of the revolution’s success and vice-versa.

8-       Analysing the committees that craft the constitution reflects the society and government’s dedication to ensuring diversity in political life.

9-      The constitution also reflects society’s way of thinking whether politically or socially and the awareness of the society of the world around it and its role within it.

10-   All of this benefits researchers in constitutional law and the political sciences.

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