Three long new pieces by Brown at Carnegie, on the state of the transition, of the constitution, and of the legislative agenda (despite the absence of a parliament...)
President Morsi now stands in firm control, with almost limitless legal authority on paper. And that is a very mixed triumph for democracy. For over half a century, the dominating political structure has been the presidency. That office was vacant from February 2011 until June 2012. Now the question is whether a domineering presidency is reemerging.
What of the content of the document? A rushed effort to write a consensus charter has led the assembly to fall back on the 1971 constitution as a starting point, tweaking it to make improvements and reflect the changed political realities. While textual changes may be limited, the new document may still operate in significantly different ways, some of them impossible to predict.
While these laws push in the direction of greater independence for NGOs and the judiciary, rumored proposals concerning al-Azhar, Egypt’s main Islamic center of learning, and the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC), move in the opposite direction. Some proposals quietly discussed indicate that those institutions may see the autonomy they quietly gained in the period of military rule reversed.