While the American democratic system of government has been developing over more than two centuries, other world experiments should be of interest to Americans, particularity those concerned about the Middle East. There is a deep interest by people around the world about the developments in Egypt.
This attention emanates from the belief and hope that the success of this democratic experiment will positively impact the quest for democracy, human rights and peace in the Middle East.
While certain aspects of the recent presidential decrees might be inconsistent with true democracy, it should be viewed within the context of the challenges facing the new democratic experience in Egypt, which is a noble goal. Therefore, these developments should be understood in the light of the attempts of certain sectors within the Egyptian judicial authorities, which are the remnants of the old regime, to circumvent the voting powers of the Egyptian people.
While these same authorities have every right to object to any violation of the law, they were not so roaring for democracy and human rights during the previous regime. Unfortunately, these authorities became too much involved in partisan tactics. It is saddening that the highest court in Egypt decided to suspend its work because of the protests against it from the supporters of the president of Egypt and the Islamist parties.
Furthermore, some forces that did not get the support of the people through the electoral process as well as those who would like to bring back the old regime are desperate to exploit any mistake by the new regime to remove it from power by undemocratic means.
They have gone so far, even calling for a military intervention or requesting the United States and other states to becoming involved in the conflict. To provide a way out the president of Egypt repeatedly stated that he was committed to the principle of the independence of the judiciary. He also declared that the latest decree was of a temporary nature.
As a matter of fact all these decrees will expire once the new constitution is approved by popular vote. The Freedom and Justice Party, of which the president had been a member before his election, as well as other supporting parties changed the venue of the demonstrations supporting his decisions to avoid confrontations and conflict.
The president is trying to have a negotiated solution to this crisis by inviting his opponents for a dialogue. It is hoped that agreement would be reached on a number of issues including allowing the Egyptian people to decide by a vote on the new constitution.
The opposition has the right to reject the constitution and to call on the Egyptian people to do the same. Then a new constituent assembly would be formed. What is needed now is a refrain from using force, and riots, as well as a resort to clam.
All efforts should be focused on the merits and demerits of the draft constitution. Therefore, it is hoped that violence or threat of violence will end. Let all remember that this is the first true democratic experiment in the modern history of Egypt.
The president of Egypt was elected through a truly democratic process, and the courts should not attempt to question the legality of that process, and not to reverse the will of the Egyptian people.
Let the people of Egypt decide whether to accept or reject the new constitution. There should be new elections to the lower house of the Parliament, after the approval of the new constitution by the people, and the opposition parties may win and amend the constitution.
Political parties and groups must avoid using violence. The international community should accept the results of the votes, and urge the government of Egypt to accommodate the opinions and the interests of all Egyptians even those who are in the opposition.
Amer Araim is an adjunct professor of political science at Diablo Valley College and a former Iraqi diplomat. He is a resident of Walnut Creek.