Constitution-Making Processes During Democratization: Egypt and Tunisia after the 2010/11 Uprisings

Episode 100

Constitution-Making Processes During Democratization: 

Egypt and Tunisia after the 2010/11 Uprisings

In this podcast, Dr. Tereza Jermanová, discusses the differences in the constitution-making processes and design in Tunisia and Egypt during their transitions. Dr. Jermanová looks at how constitution-making procedures are perceived as, on the one hand, constraints –that might restrict the ability of majority actors to debate and set the rules for how a constitution will be made; and on the other hand, as a space where regular social interactions between individuals coming from different political backgrounds can help them to shed some of the prejudices that they have of their opponents and to build interpersonal ties. 

Dr. Jermanová argues that the inclusive procedures enabled constitutional agreement to become a possibility in Tunisia, while the lack of inclusion in Egypt made such an outcome improbable. Both countries set off on different tracks towards – and away from – democracy not because they followed different constitution-making designs, but because of factors that shaped their adoption in the first place. 


Dr. Tereza Jermanová is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague where she lectures on Contemporary politics of the Middle East and North Africa. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Politics at the University of Warwick, Great Britain. She holds her MA in North African Politics from the University of Exeter, and before that studied politics at the Sciences Po in Paris and the Charles University in Prague. Her research focuses on Egypt, Tunisia, and processes of democratization and constitution-making.


This interview was led by CEMAT Associate Director, Dr. Meriem Guetat, and was recorded on February 7, 2020, at the Centre d'Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT), as part of the Conversations in Law and Society Series.

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Posted by Hayet Lansari, Librarian, Outreach Coordinator, Content Curator (CEMA).


Suggested Bibliography

Bâli, A.Ü. and H. Lerner (eds.). 2017. Constitution Writing, Religion, and Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Brown, N.J. 2002. Constitutions in a Non-constitutional World: Arab Basic Laws and the Prospects for Accountable Government. Albany: State University of New York Press.  


Brown, N.J. 2018. “The Roots of Egypt’s Constitutional Catastrophe: The Necessity of Marrying an Analysis of Context, Process, and Text.” In: A. Stepan (eds.) Democratic Transitions in the Muslim World. A Global Perspective. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 73-90.  


Elster, J., R. Gargarella, V. Naresh and B. E. Rasch (eds.). 2018. Constituent Assemblies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   


Jermanová, T. 2020. “From Mistrust to Understanding: Inclusive Constitution-Making Design and Agreement in Tunisia.” Political Research Quarterly.


Jermanová, T. 2019. “Before Constitution-making: The Struggle for Constitution-Making Design in Post-revolutionary Egypt.” Acta Politica. Pp. 1-14.


Petkanas, Z. 2018. “Emerging norms: Writing gender in post-revolution Tunisian State.” In: D. H. Gray & N. Sonneveld (eds.) Women and social change in North Africa: What counts as revolutionary?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Maboudi, T. 2019. “Reconstituting Tunisia: Participation, Deliberation, and the Content of Constitution.” Political Research Quarterly.