8.12.2005

The Egyptian Movement for Change "Kefaya" (enough)

The movement of “Kefaya” (enough) in Egypt is one of the most important political phenomena in the new Middle East. It is very important to be studied as regards the Middle East democratization, the domestic civil societies in the Middle East, the new geopolitical reality in the Middle East after Iraq, the reaction of the Middle East authoritarian regimes and the foreign or international input to the democratization efforts of the Middle East. We can expect needed answers from this indispensable study.

Following is a statement of “Kefaya”:

The Egyptian Movement for Change

No to Extension …No to Inheritance of Power

Kefaya

The Egypt We Are Dreaming of….The Egypt We Want

Towards a New Socio-Political Contract

From the moment the "Egyptian Movement for Change" (Kefaya: Enough!) announced itself as a unique state of national accord between all Egyptian powers without discrimination or exception and that its role is to employ this accord to create a national consensus about the political, economic and social change that Egypt wants now.

The movement also realizes that national desire for change and rejecting the existing situation is what gained "Kefaya" all this public enthusiasm and momentum. This dictates that Kefaya prepare a "strategic vision for change" based on the collective national desire in "sound and fair government" capable of building the society of "justice and freedom".

The society of justice that achieves fair government is foremost a society where the existing rule of law is based on two rules: that only the law rules to the exclusion of any other considerations, and equality between citizens without discrimination for any reason, equality based on citizenship. Secondly it is the society of justice based on distribution, the justice of distribution national wealth. Thirdly, it is a society that enables citizens to exercise their basic rights, foremost among which is the right to free choice of rulers because government and power are a national property not restricted to a party, sector or family; the right to employment; the right to free education, free medical treatment, the right to housing and the right to a free, dignified life.

The freedom society that achieves fair government means securing the freedom of the individual, society and the country. Security individual freedom is achieved by guaranteeing individual civil and human freedom, foremost among which encompass the freedom of choice, the freedom of thought, the free exchange of information, free organization, freedom of _expression, free peaceful demonstration, the elimination of all forms of oppression, dictatorship and political, economic or social domination. An equal citizenship basis in rights and obligations should be guaranteed without discrimination. The freedom of the country requires securing the country's independence and national sovereignty, gaining it power against all efforts to render it a follower, as well as secure the free national opinion from any outside pressures or outside imposition and refusing any policies that reduce the independence and sovereignty of national decision which is a direct _expression of the freedom and sovereignty of the country and its strategic interests.

Establishing the sound and fair rule capable of building the society of justice and freedom requires ending all imposed monopoly of wealth and power in Egypt and ending all forms of political, economic and social tyranny and oppression. This can be achieved through taking the immediate measures for the next period as a necessary introduction to achieve the required change, in particular:
1. Re-adapt the Presidential Institution to the need to change from the one-man country, achieve the Constitutional circulation of power, determine the presidential term after the people choose the president through a free and direct election from among a number of candidates, determine and reduce the powers vested in the president, ensure that the president relinquishes all party affiliation upon election. The president should be accountable and questionable on part of Constitutional institutions. This also applies to the vice-president who should be elected in one list with the president and take over in case the president dies.
2. Correct the Legal and Judiciary Situation in Egypt by repealing the state of emergency and its law, repealing all exceptional laws and all forms of exceptional courts (such as military courts) and allowing citizens to enjoy the right to trial before their natural judge. The judiciary should be completely independent from any Executive Authority interference (represented in the Ministry of Justice and Judiciary Control). The Judiciary budget should be in the hands of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, as well as promotions and dismissals, including the choice of judges to supervise political processes, such as elections and referenda. Issue the Judiciary Authority Law to guarantee the independence of the judiciary in order for it to perform its patriotic role which includes the complete supervision of all elections that take place in Egypt.
3. Guarantee the Separation of Powers and prevent the Executive Authority, particularly its security arm, from taking over the areas of jurisdiction of the Judiciary and Legislative powers. Grant the Legislative Authority the powers that allow it to perform actual control over the activities of the Executive Authority. Reconsider what is called "the Bureau Committee" which takes decisions on behalf of the People's Assembly during its recess, and the "Twenty-Member List" which is exploited to paralyze the representation process within the People's Assembly. Modify the means by which candidate documents are revised to prevent the repetition of the "Loan Representatives", "Military Service Representatives" and other issues.
4. Allow Public Freedoms and Basic Rights for Individuals and Groups as guaranteed by the Constitution and dictated by the democratic theory worldwide, including:
- Freedom to establish, issue, edit and publish newspapers, lift the restrictions of fear imposed on the press and eliminating imprisonment sentences in publication cases.
- The freedom of association, and peaceful demonstration, strike and sit-ins, as well as the freedom to disseminate information.
- The freedom to form political parties, unions, civil associations, civil society organizations and eliminating the obstacles imposed by the "Political Parties Committee" and the "Political Parties Law" and acknowledge the legitimacy of strong, influential streams in society.
- Establish the foundation of citizenship and equality among citizens without discrimination or exclusion of any political or social power from equal participation and equal opportunities between individuals, groups, organizations, parties and political trends.
- Reform elections by the guarantee of judiciary supervision over all stages of the election process starting with approving election lists after having reviewed and verified the names, through monitoring votes and moving the ballot boxes, counting voices and approving results. All this should be preceded by withdrawing the control of the security apparatus over the election processes and enabling citizens from casting their votes in complete freedom without threats, coercion or assault in such a way as to guarantee complete public participation.

These transitional measures are just introductory measures to the peaceful fundamental change in ideas, institutions and policies on all political, economic and social level in order to achieve freedom, equality and justice to all citizens and establish the sound society we desire through moving away from the oppressive or tyrannical government pattern currently imposed on the country to an alternative democratic pattern where the political power is distributed and easily circulated in a peaceful way under legal controls through democratic government institutions the performance of which is governed by values and principles that honor freedom as a high value while securing justice and equality as basic principles of the political society we desire and the fair government we wish for.

Achieving this requires performing two closely-linked operations: the first is represented in preparing the foundation for a democratic rule, particularly the democratic Constitution and government institutions, and the second is placing the controls that govern the democratic construct through securing rights and public freedoms, transparency, accountability and questioning, also through combining democracy with legal and social justice, equality and political participation in a way that guarantees rationalizing authority and increasing the effectiveness of the political system.
I: Foundations of Democracy
1. Democratic Constitution
A democratic constitution is what distinguishes a democracy from other forms of government. A constitution is democratic in content, as well as through the way it is prepared, repealed or modified.

A constitution is only democratic when prepared by a democratically elected committee. Such a constitution is similar to a socio-political contract between the government and the governed, reflects the balance between national powers and enjoys popular acceptance and approval.

A constitution not democratic in itself but rather in the way it is prepared, modified and repealed, as well as in content. For a constitution to be democratic it should originate from the people. It is not a grant from the ruler, but represents a people's democratic will that the government has no right to repeal or modify except with public will that does not only reflect the majority and does not give in to the dictatorship of the majority, but should respect plurality and harmony between all national powers without breaching the rights of religious or ethnic minorities. A constitution is democratic when it incorporates the following principles:
1. Sovereignty and rule should be for the people rather than for the ruler, a religious figure, etc. The people are the source of authorities, their will delegating and replacing such authorities.
2. Equal citizenship without discrimination. There are conditions to guarantee this right of equal citizenship, the most significant are the elimination of the individual or minority rule, freeing the state from subjection to rulers as the people are the source of authorities according to the legitimacy of a democratic constitution and through the guarantees provided by its actual democratic principles, institutions and mechanisms. All citizens holding the nationality enjoy equal rights and duties, each of them has equal civil and legal rights and obligations. There should also be guarantees and space for every citizen to exercise the right to effective political participation, to occupy public positions without discrimination, as well as all social and economic rights in order to enable citizens to exercise their citizenship and in order for citizenship to fulfill its meaning that in turn earns citizen belonging and loyalty, as well as their positive interaction with other citizens due to possessing the ability for actual participation and feeling justice. Citizenship is a right and performance, in the absence of the right performance will not be achieved.
3. Complete equality before the rule of law without discrimination. This means that the rule of law governs everyone without exception based on human rights, particularly the right to equal citizenship. The law should be general and impartial. The law should not allow any exceptions or violations and should form the framework organizing the relationship between citizens on the one hand and between the citizens, the state and its institutions on the other. It also organizes the relationship between the institutions in a way that secures the rights basis for justice and equality, separation of the three powers (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary) and preventing any transgressions on part of the Executive against the Legislative and Judiciary authorities, enabling the latter two authorities to perform their constitutional functions and preventing any combination of the powers of the Executive and Legislative authorities in a way that results in the subjugation of the Legislative to the Executive authority.
4. Circulation of power. This peaceful circulation between political powers is the difference between a democratic and an autocratic or a totalitarian rule. In the absence of the principle of peaceful circulation of power one of two things take pl\ace, either handing down power within the family or the ruling party or the violent and forceful circulation through coups d'etat whether restricted to the ruling elite or violent coups that impose the circulation of power accompanied by all the threats to national security and political stability in such cases.

The absence of any of these four principles affects the democracy of the constitution and mutilates the call for reform.

2. Institutions of Democratic Government
These institutions play the role of the container where democracy is transformed from a higher political value to a process implemented through government practices and the various political interactions. Through these institutions the articles of the democratic constitution become a political movement, practices and interaction that express the essence of the principles stated in the democratic constitutions as government is based on commitment to these principles. Moreover, the circulation of power is peaceful without any threats to security or political stability by providing a good level of harmony between political parties and socio-political powers on the principles of peaceful competition in a way that leads to organizing political life on peaceful competitive basis among all political parties and powers, governed by periodic elections and public referenda in a way that enables legislative institutions to play their role in preparing legislation, effectively and efficiently controlling the Executive Authority and political institution in a way that guarantees the rule of law and protects the freedom, independence and integrity of the Judiciary. These institutions include the legislative and judiciary authorities, the Executive Authority, political parties, periodic elections, as well as all the organizations of political participation and stimulating other political life, particularly unions and non-government organizations.

(a) Legislative Institutions
The efficiency of such legislative institutions is determined in performing their two main functions of legislation and control, their degree of independence from the Executive Authority, the level of fairness and freedom of elections through which representatives are chosen, and the degree of citizen confidence in the election representation in general, in addition to the efficiency of the representatives, how serious political pluralism is within such legislative bodies. In general these bodies support the democracy of the political system through their various practices, most significant among which are:
- Increased opportunities of expressing public demands, improving the quality of political dialogue through enabling representatives to express the general public condition be it satisfaction or discontent towards the political system.
- Fulfill and express public demands through presenting and defending draft laws; discussing, amending, accepting or rejecting the state's public budget and providing services to various elections constituencies.
- Giving legitimacy to government decisions in order to facilitate their implementation.
- Perform the functions of control, accountability and questioning of officials in the government and various institutions.
- It is also a forum to run and settle political disputes and competition within society and prevent them from reaching a point of political splits that threaten political balance and stability.

(b) Judiciary Bodies
A free and unbiased Judiciary is the measurement of how democratic a political regime is. No democracy exists without a free and independent Judiciary. The effectiveness and democracy of the judiciary body is ensured through its ability to exercise its positive role in guaranteeing that the laws are constitutional, the actual implementation of the principle of the rule of law and achieving just equality between citizens.

As judiciary bodies protect the Constitution and the laws, they also secure the freedom and fairness of all forms of the elections (presidential, legislative and local). These bodies enjoy democracy to an extent that frees them from the pressures and control of the Executive Authority. A democratic system involves no exceptional laws or courts, nor gives the ruler power over the judiciary whether through appointment, promotions or dismissal. The Judiciary should enjoy complete independence from the Executive Authority in order to keep the regime democratic and subject it to the rule of law.

(c) Political Parties
Political parties are the true public institutions for political participation and the means by which political life is stimulated through free and peaceful participation. Parties organize public participation in political life and give rise to the most import political leaders and cadres that should the burden of stimulating and developing the political process. Parties take part in the elections and exercise the bulk of the political activities within the parliament, including legislation, accountability, discussing government policies and monitoring government performance, as well as express public demands and public opinion trends inside legislative bodies.

The more freedom provided to form parties to achieve pluralism and the less control the Executive Authority in general and the security apparatus in particular have, the more political parties acquire efficiency in playing their political roles. However, these parties continue to suffer from a legitimacy crisis due to the domination of the continuity and stability obsession. The ruling regime in Egypt sought to monopolize power under the claim of "preserving continuity" as a basis for stability. Thus, the regime adopted a policy of preventing political powers from competing with it over the power that it was keen on monopolizing. The regime also wanted to prevent political opposition from monitoring the political power and holding it accountable.

These government restrictions imposed on political parties are accompanied by parallel restrictions within the parties that limit their efficiency and effectiveness, the most significant of which is the crisis of the absence of democracy inside these parties, or what is called the absence of "elite dynamics" which resulted in the stagnation of circulating elite inside the parties and within the national movement as a whole. The parties also suffer from a resource crisis which usually forces them to resort to the Authority asking for support with all the accompanying willing subjugation to the demands and pressures of the Authority, thus turning these political parties into false facades of democracy.

The most important challenge remains in the freedom of the elections. Without the freedom to establish parties to ensure pluralism and competitiveness, and without the possibility of holding free and fair elections, the movement and activities of political parties remains a superficial act and their role remains marginal in political life.

(d) Civil Society Organizations
Civil, non-government organizations and professional and labor unions play an important role in supporting democracy as organizations of civil society, which includes associations, organizations, clubs and unions, all working as intermediary organizations between citizens and the state. They provide individuals with the opportunity to participate and express demands. They play a major role in developing and accelerating democratic transformation.

These organizations do not only contributed to stimulating political life, they also stimulate cultural and social life in a way that gives them more vitality and guarantees the defense of the demands and the role of various political and social powers in order to strengthen political participation and support democratic transformation.

II: Controls Governing the Democratic Structure
Adjusting the required democratic structure requires guaranteeing the following measures and steps in synchronization with building the democracy.
1. Public Rights and Freedoms: The freedom of thought, the freedom to disseminate information, the freedom to organize, the freedom to demonstrate and the freedom of elections.

In the case of media and the press freedom includes the freedom to establish newspapers and television stations without government monopoly and without obstacles from government bodies in general and security in particular. To achieve freedom of the press and for the press to play its positive role within the framework of a democratic system, it is supposed to be based on independent ownership and transparent funding, as well as the ability of the press group to organize itself without outside interference. Freedom of the press and media institutions should also be achieved in press and media work without government censorship, interference or restrictions while adhering to the law, responsibility, ethical standards and codes of honor that govern the work of these institutions.

Freedom in the case of political parties and civil society organizations includes the freedom to establish parties and organizations and that opposition parties and civil society organizations are acknowledged and recognized as an integral part of the political system rather than outlaw organizations. This means that the security apparatus should not pursue members of opposition parties or subject them to mistreatment that would undermine their freedom and rights or negatively influence their job or living conditions.

Freedom in the case of elections is a strong basis and an important pillar of a democratic rule. The issue is not whether or not to hold elections. This issue is in holding free and fair elections. Elections that lack freedom and fairness pose far more danger to the absence of elections because rigged elections destroy the credibility of the political process as a whole and raise doubts as to the value of political participation. Rigged elections spread feelings of frustration and despair towards public activity thus threatening the democratic experience and the success of its objectives.

For elections to be fair, individuals should have the right to freely vote without security or job obstacles. Individuals should enjoy the complete freedom to choose from among candidates and parties without coercion or oppression. Individuals should have the complete opportunity to reach the polling stations and choose in complete freedom. For elections to be free and fair, security forces should be completely excluded from any participation in the election process which should be completely under the supervision of the Judiciary or an independent body that guarantee complete fairness of the process without excluding civil society organizations and international organizations to ensure confidence in the freedom and fairness of the elections.

These public freedoms which should be available to democratic institutions should be complementary to the need to guarantee individuals freedoms, including the freedoms of thought, belief, choice, the freedom to access information, to belong to the political party of their choice, free political choice and the freedom to demonstrate. These public and private rights and freedoms expand the democratic transformation and achieve the necessary reform in Egypt and the Arab countries.

2. Transparency
The prompt availability of accurate information and allowing everyone to access the necessary, documented information helps reach sound decisions in the area of public policies. The importance of statistics and data about monetary, financial and economic policies in general is significant in order to correct economic and financial policies. The government and public and private economic institutions, such as banks, are the main source of such information and should make it public on a periodical basis to expand the circle of public participation in monitoring the performance of the government and state and private institutions.

3. Accountability and Questioning
This means the presence of regulations and legal controls that allow the complete right and freedom to hold public officials, civil society institutions and the public and private sector politically and administratively accountable, as well as the complete right -without restrictions or pressures- to hold high officials accountable for their political choices, decisions and management of public resources. It also means the keenness on separating public from private affairs, as well as protecting public interest from being exploited by politicians.

The absence of complete transparency with relation to information and facts about public resources, public spending and economic policies and practices of the Authority, and the absence of the right of society with its democratic institutions to completely hold the ruling elite, political, security and economic institutions, as well as all the Authority's institutions and bodies accountable will surely result in financial and political corruption, the spread of nepotism, bribes, the destruction of the political and economic life and the distortion of the democratic process. In the absence of the complete confidence on part of the citizens in the sincerity of the ruling elite and institutions, and if the citizens do not have the ability and the right to hold them accountable regardless of their position and person, there will not be confidence in the political regime which will remain accused of corruption and destruction thus threatening the legitimacy of the ruling regime and threatening stability.

4. Linking Democracy with Legal and Social Justice
The absence of legal and social justice results in the deviation of the democratic transformation, particularly if priority is given to economic to the exclusion of political liberalization. Such a deviation destroys any attempts at political reform. Thus, expanding the democratic and liberal process should be accompanied by an expansion in the concept and practice of justice. Justice should not be restricted to settling disputes through resorting to the law without discrimination. It should be based on the principle of social solidarity. It becomes the duty of the ruling regime to secure fair arbitration, secure the social needs of citizens, such as achieving social justice, restricting social discrepancies on the one hand and increasing the opportunities to fair sharing in national wealth on the other, as well as the keenness on providing citizens with equal opportunities.

5. Linking Democracy with Equality and Political Participation
The absence of equality from democracy aborts the new democratic construct. The required equality is the fair one, just as the required freedom is the fair one. This is what gives comprehensive political reform its real concept. Real democracy does not differentiate between people. Equality dictates that laws are general and that they apply to everyone on the basis of personal qualifications rather than the criteria of traditional nepotism. This is why some researchers consider equality a political value equal to civilization. They view seeking to achieve as the essence of reform policies.

The new democratic construct also requires giving root to all political powers and trends to participate and allow the presence of new political institutions, such as political parties, unions and pressure groups, to organize this participation.

Political participation which clearly means organizing the efforts of citizens to choose their leaders and influence the making and directing of public policy is different from the "mobilization" process the ruling elite perform. The absence of political participation loses society a major opportunity to expand and affirm patriotism and loyalty, as well as allowing citizens to join the institutions of the political system and achieve stability. Giving root to effective public political participation is important because it is the main tool to achieve equality as a main higher value in society.

6. Rationalizing Power
This means replacing many of the traditional, religious, family and ethnic authorities with one civil and national political authority. This means that the government should be viewed as a human product. Finding such an authority dictates that human beings are the main source of higher authority, and giving priority to abiding by the law over any other obligations.

Rationalizing authority also means affirming the national sovereignty of the state in the face of any outside power. This means eliminating all forms of and reasons for subordination to the outside world, or any internal powers or sectors with relations or links to the outside world, particularly those considered as social subordination tools. It also means achieving all dimensions of national integration and focusing the authority in the hands of national political authorities and institutions to the exclusion of other traditional sub-institutions.

These controls can guarantee the democratic process now required in Egypt which can help build the society we desire, the society of justice and freedom, which can be considered as a new "socio-political contract" to organize the relation between the ruler and the governed. This contract can define the rights and duties of both government and governed without violations or oppression within a comprehensive modernization process of both society and the state in Egypt to enable it to move from the era of backwardness, oppression and subordination to a future full of freedom, justice and efficiency to occupy an advanced position among nations and peoples.

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