Egypt – On the Road

While world attention has shifted to Libya, Egypt is working its way towards reform. So far, the Egyptian military has performed admirably, establishing effective stabilization, yet showing no signs of wanting to take over the nation.

The constitution which essentially codified supreme presidential power, has been suspended, and parliament has been dissolved. The military has called for elections in six months. These are essential steps along the way.  The end of emergency law was a key demand of protesters, and is still in effect.  The military has said it will end emergency law when the streets are cleared and perhaps other conditions satisfied.

A significant issue is how a new constitution will be drafted.  For a constitution to have long term viability it must be skillfully drafted and negotiated.  It will not be easy to balance the desires of so many passionate interested groups.  These groups fear that other groups will become too powerful and take over.  Will the constitution be written in such a way as to prevent Egypt from becoming an Islamist state, or controlled by the Moslem Brotherhood, as it appears many fear?  These questions, and many others, need to be discussed and resolved through negotiation.  This probably means that elections should happen before a new constitution is drafted, and the job given to the representatives of the people.

A common thread to many of the protest movements in the Middle East is a call for more jobs, specifically for their governments to provide more jobs (and more pay). Of course, sustainable path to more jobs is not via the government, but (with rare exceptions) through the establishment an economy that provides jobs in the civilian sector. This requires private investment in the country’s economy, and this can only be accomplished if industry leaders have confidence in the stability of the country.

The road ahead will be tough, and interesting.

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