Deconstructing the Relation between Law and Authoritarianism: How Law Consolidated Authoritarianism in Post-2011 Egypt

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Mohamed Elgohari Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, George Mason University 4400 University Drive, 3G5, Fairfax, VA 22030 USA

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This article argues that law and legal mechanisms in Egypt have not simply reinforced authoritarianism but have also been the avenue through which embryonic moves toward the rule of law have been halted and even reversed. The political regime has utilized law to consolidate its rule, boost its legitimacy, crack down on opposition and dissent, and restrict freedoms and rights. In Egypt, law and authoritarianism have not only co-existed but also have intersected and been mutually supportive. The political regime has used laws to legalize its autocratic policies and practices as a pretext to restore order and stability and fight terrorism. Since 2013, the law has been a tool not simply for authoritarianism in general but also for the ruling regime and military institution to assert control over society, to place themselves out of reach of legal/constitutional mechanisms and accountability either by issuing new laws and executive orders or altering existing ones.

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