Post-regime change, Arabs eye the road to democracy

After the revolutions, it is elections. The celebrations have barely abated over the scalps of such invincible strongmen as Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak that key voiced across the Arab world are calling for focus on “strong constitutional transition” and post-election management. The concern is obvious. The Islamic world, spread from the Middle-East to Maghreb Africa, has not known parliamentary democracy, in fact no more than one leader in generations. Now, post-Arab Spring, the “transition regimes” are common here as are preparation for elections.

A conference organized by Morocco’s foreign ministry saw key political and intellectual voices flag their concerns while asserting that democracy was irreversible. As Ghazi Gherairi, head of the International Academy of Constitutional Law in Tunis, says, “No government in future can overlook concerns cutting across borders.”

Ironically, monarchies Morocco and Jordan have emerged as the reference points for democracy for their timely move towards reforms to preempt street battles which gripped regimes elsewhere. Experts believe the choice of the nature of democracy and the legal system would determine the fate of the revolutions. The decision on the nature of Islam and its relation to the State will be as crucial. Allagi, minister of justice in the Libyan transition regime, says that multi-party system and the independent judiciary were non-negotiable while the country could have any law, Islamic or otherwise. “Our constitution would enable such a system,” he said.

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