The Case For A King

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The next weeks and months might quite possibly be among the most important in Egypt’s modern history. As plans are unveiled for new constitutional amendments – essentially applying the same rules with regards to presidential terms as those found in America, many are unsatisfied, instead wanting an overrunning of the entire constitution. Many still wait patiently to know just how secular the new constitution will be, an issue which has been kept tightly under wraps so far. Yet more are wondering exactly how the government will be reformed so as to ensure a democracy in which corruption is eradicated and civil liberties are safeguarded.

One idea that is as radical as it is unimaginable, is the restoration of the monarchy in Egypt. The irony of restoring the monarchy in order to ensure democracy is not lost on me, but there is a method to its madness. Many forget that the monarchy was a popular part of Egyptian culture and government, and that it was the lavish life-style of King Farouk and his lack of efficiency as a ruler, as well as the unacceptable result of the 1948 war that triggered the Free Officers Revolt in 1952 and his eventual abdication in 1952.

But what would a monarchy bring to Egypt? A figurehead and representative of Egypt who is not politically associated. An elected president/prime minister would run the nation, forming a government and working alongside the judiciary and an elected Parliament but in this time of great political uncertainty in a country notorious for corruption in politics, a monarch would ensure that legitimacy and accountability would be adhered to and that no single figure would attempt to manipulate current affairs for personal benefit.

A monarch at the head of Egypt while having no real power over the day-to-day running of the country, similarly to the United Kingdom, would ensure that no single political party or figure would establish an overarching domination as in the past, simply because they would not be at the top of the figurative food chain. The resurgence of a monarchy, assuming it was fair and politically neutral, could spell an end to the bitter infighting among Egypt’s political personas that has for too long plagued Egypt’s ability to have a government for the people, by the people, and of the people.

A monarch’s role would be symbolic, but having an apolitical representative in the midst of what is likely to be a heavily-partisan government is reassuring for the general populace.

The military, which has been heralded in the Jan 25 Revolution as a great institution to which the Egyptian people are eternally grateful, is starting to face much dissatisfaction as more and more information surfaces regarding its past actions under Hosni Mubarak and due to its general incompetence in jumpstarting the country after the revolution. For too long the military has played a primary role in governing the country, no doubt due to the fact that the 1952 Revolution was orchestrated by military officials.

If the military swore allegiance to a monarch, a representative of Egypt as a whole, the relationship between the military and politics would be eradicated, ensuring there was no meddling in each other’s affairs and no power struggle between the two. In doing so an Egyptian government, while having to maintain the strength of Egypt’s military, would not have to appease or make concessions to an institution that should have no position in the body politic.

Finally, as the calls continue for a new, secular constitution in Egypt, one should keep in mind that during the rule of the Muhammad Ali dynasty, Egypt was a much more secular country, and the focus on religion was nowhere near as central as it is today. The focus on religion has created rifts in Egypt that should not be there, and hopefully the interfaith sentiment that was discovered during the Revolution can prosper. While that dynasty was Muslim, their lack of fervour towards religion might reflect on the rest of Egypt. A secular constitution and a nonreligious figurehead might just result in a liberal, secular, efficient, constitutional monarchy that would project Egypt forward in the next decade as a major player in Middle Eastern, African, and even world, politics.




Written by BraveNewEgypt

March 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

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