The Middle East in Transition
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The Middle East in Transition

The Centrality of Citizenship

Edited by Nils A. Butenschøn and Roel Meijer

The violent transitions that have dominated developments since the Arab Uprisings demonstrate deep-seated divisions in the conceptions of state authority and citizen rights and responsibilities. Analysing the Middle East through the lens of the ‘citizenship approach’, this book argues that the current diversity of crisis in the region can be ascribed primarily to the crisis in the relations between state and citizen. The volume includes theoretical discussions and case studies, and covers both Arab and non-Arab countries.
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Chapter 7: Citizenship in the 2014 Egyptian Constitution

Nathalie Bernard-Maugiron


The Egyptian Constitution of 2014 has been widely praised as a secular document that enshrined greater rights for Egyptian citizens. The Constitution of 2012, by contrast, was labelled as that of an authoritarian Islamist state, at odds with international standards of human rights. A thorough comparison of the two documents, however, challenges the binary narratives that surround them: there are more similarities than differences between the two constitutions, even though the religious provisions in the Constitution of 2012 received much attention. This chapter analyses the status of the citizen in the Constitution of 2014 by studying its drafting process to assess whether it was inclusive and allowed representation for a large number of citizens. An analysis of citizens’ rights and implementation mechanisms established by the Constitution will then follow. If the Constitution of 2014 enshrined greater rights for citizens than previous texts, they have so far remained as theoretical as they were under the 1971 and 2012 constitutions.

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