Podcast #37: A constitutional Smörgåsbord

The long promised podcast on everything you wanted to know about the new Arab constitutions but were afraid to ask is here. We sit with guest Zaid al-Ali, a member of the team that advised on the Iraqi constitution in 2005 and now advisor to IDEA on constitution-writing, who has been monitoring the constitution-drafting processes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

We start with Libya, where things are just getting started and the big questions are about federalism and sharing the revenues from the oil sector. Then we look at Tunisia, where the process is humming along despite some hiccups and the new constitution should be adopted by the middle of next year. And finally we take a wide-ranging look at the contents of Egypt's constitution-writing process, just as the controversy pitting Islamists vs. secularists is heating up. What are the real problems with the drafts published so far? Al-Ali's first take is that, perhaps most importantly, that is no revolutionary constitution: it's mostly an adaptation of the previous one, and the divides often exaggerated by a badly managed process.

Grab a beverage and get ready to make use of your pause and rewind buttons: this is a dense one, ranging from Sharia and women's right to the future of civil-military relations.

Show notes: 

Podcast #37:

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.