Démocratie sur le Nil ?

La décision surprise du président égyptien Hosni Mubarak de proposer un amendement constitutionnel autorisant la tenue d'élections présidentielles directes et compétitives pourrait fort bien constituer un pas de géant pour la démocratie en Egypte et dans le monde arabe. Les Occidentaux habitués à une démocratie pluraliste peuvent avoir des difficultés à comprendre quel changement potentiellement considérable cette décision engendrera dans un pays accoutumé au règne militaire depuis plus de 50 ans.

Sous le système actuel, les citoyens égyptiens peuvent uniquement se manifester le jour d'un référendum présidentiel organisé tous les six ans pour dire oui ou non au seul nom qui figure sur le scrutin présidentiel. Ceci explique pourquoi un individu tel que Mubarak a toujours reçu plus de 90 % des voix, quoique au milieu d'un taux de participation indifférent. Les hommes forts syriens et irakiens ont fait encore mieux avec ce système, sans doute parce qu'ils ont exigé que les noms et les adresses des électeurs soient placés au bas de chaque scrutin.

Plusieurs individus soutiennent depuis longtemps que la démocratisation au Moyen-Orient ne pourra pas progresser tant que l'Egypte ne s'impliquera pas pleinement dans le processus. L'Egypte ne pourrait pas réellement s'engager sur une voie de démocratisation sans d'abord amender sa constitution, ce afin de réduire les pouvoirs pharaoniques de son président et limiter la durée de son mandat. Mubarak, après tout, en est déjà à sa 24ème année en tant que président. Ainsi, son annonce d'élections présidentielles compétitives constitue une première étape majeure.

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