Legal mechanisms governing the state of emergency can play an important role in authoritarian rule and post-revolutionary transition periods. Egypt has experienced the terror of a regime empowered by emergency law. In Tunisia, emergency law was not so much an issue before but rather after the Jasmine revolution. Given the importance of emergency regulations in both cases, this article provides brief process-oriented accounts of the constitutional reforms triggered by the Arab Spring. It furthermore takes a critical look at how Egypt and Tunisia have redesigned these norms in the latest constitutions of early 2014. On the basis of criteria regarding the rule of law and mechanisms of crisis governance in modern democracies, this article then analyses and evaluates the key elements regarding checks and balances pertaining to emergency regulations in the 2014 constitutions.
Giorgio AgambenState of Exception (Chicago: University of Chicago Press2005). For an excellent etymological elaboration based on historical perspective of the terms related to states of emergencies see Chapter 1. A good and short historical summary can be found in: Giorgio Agamben “A Brief History of the State of Exception” University of Chicago Presshttp://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/009254.html.
Marc Lynch“Ending Egypt’s State of Emergency (Sort Of),”The Middle East Channel – Foreign PolicyJanuary 24 2012 http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/01/24/ending_egypts_state_of_emergency_sort_of.
Patrick Kingsley“Why Egypt’s Mass Evictions in Sinai Are a Risky Strategy,”The GuardianNovember 4 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/04/egypt-harsh-response-islamist-insurgency-sinai-could-backfire.
Tunis Afrique Presse“Tunisia: State of Emergency Extended to Three Months - Presidency,”Tunis Afrique PresseJuly 8 2013 http://allafrica.com/stories/201307090563.html; Wiem Melki “State of Emergency Extended until March 2012” Tunisia Live January 3 2012 http://www.tunisia-live.net/2012/01/03/state-of-emergency-extended-until-march-2012/.