Drafting Egypt’s New Constitution

Content from the Brookings Doha Center is now archived. In September 2021, after 14 years of impactful partnership, Brookings and the Brookings Doha Center announced that they were ending their affiliation. The Brookings Doha Center is now the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, a separate public policy institution based in Qatar.

With parliamentary elections now complete, Egypt moves to the next major step in its fitful political transition — drafting a new constitution for the republic. As the fundamental document establishing a framework for governance, the new Egyptian constitution will have a lasting effect on Egyptian law, politics, and society.  However, Egypt’s transition is shaping up to be a case study in how not to initiate a constitution-writing process.

At a time when the shortcomings of a mismanaged transition threaten to undermine the constitution-writing process, author Tamir Moustafa identifies the most important issues to be tackled by the country’s Constituent Assembly. Focusing on questions that range from the place of Islamic law to women’s rights to the role of the military, he offers recommendations on how each area should be addressed.

The paper – the first to be published under the new Brookings Doha Center-Stanford Project on Arab Transitions – concludes that while constitution writing must be treated as an organic process, the international community should work to ensure that Egypt’s military does not entrench a role for itself in domestic governance.