Nations Groping for New Political Systems 3 Yrs after Arab Spring

Article excerpt

Three years have already passed since the Arab Spring democracy movements that saw people rising up in search of freedom.

In Middle Eastern countries where long-reigning dictatorial regimes were brought down, moves to seek new systems of governance have been ongoing.

Egypt and Tunisia have managed to establish new constitutions that stipulate democratic procedures. We can safely say these nations took a step forward toward enhanced freedom and the establishment of a rule of law.

In Egypt, there was a prolonged state of confusion after the administration of Hosni Mubarak was brought down. Although Mohamed Morsi from the Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood was elected as president, he was dismissed by the military as he lost the confidence of the people because he overzealously tried to expand the influence of Muslim Brotherhood.

Even under such circumstances, countries such as Japan and the United States, as well as European nations, have continued providing assistance to the provisional military-backed government. These actions were based on the common interest of avoiding a situation in which Egypt, a strategically important country in the Middle East region, will be destabilized again.

The turning point for resolving the disorderly situation was the approval of the revised Constitution, drafted by a committee comprising representatives from various sectors, in a national referendum in January.

Compared with the previous Constitution, which had strong Islamist elements, the current Constitution is distinguished by its consideration of an appropriate balance between the teachings of Islam and secularism. The new top law retained an article to respect Islamic laws, while it clearly stipulates new human rights protections including "gender equality."

Countries struggling

The revised Constitution also has an article that requires approval by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in appointing the defense minister for eight years from now. …