Saturday, March 19, 2011

A One Vote Does Not A Democracy Make

Egypt is on the Edge of constitutional reform.  Mubarak resigned office February 11, 2011.  Today, a little over a month later, Egypt is holding a nationwide vote to revise their constitution.  Fast-tracked by the military into a nationwide referendum, Egyptians have begun voting on a slate of alterations to their Constitution as a first step towards democracy.  I am having a hard time figuring out what is at stake in the referendum. The process has been fast and little effort was made to educate the public as to the purpose and nature of the referendum.  Here is the best I can figure out:  1) Adopt terms limits for president; 2) Broaden the pool of candidates beyond those in the ruling party; 3) some other things that are probably very important

Despite this prompt and overt attempt at democratic rule, voices rumbling from Egypt are calling for a complete rewriting of the constitution.  This makes sense.  Democracy is not merely electing leaders and voting on constitutional amendments.  At best you might empower a benevolent short-term dictator, at worst, you have Representative Despotism (if there is such a thing).

Besides elections and referendums, what else do you need to create a Democracy?

1 comment:

  1. "One swallow does not a summer make, nor does one day..."
    Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1, Sect. 7.