Save

Three circles and a few promises

In: Al-Abhath
Authors:
Elham Fakhro Visiting Scholar at the Center for Gulf Studies, Exeter University, Exeter, United Kingdom e.fakhro@exeter.ac.uk

Search for other papers by Elham Fakhro in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Chibli Mallat Principal of Mallat Law Offices in Beirut; Presidential Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, United States chibli.mallat@law.utah.edu

Search for other papers by Chibli Mallat in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Free access

The chapter introduces the volume on constitutionalism in the Arab Gulf states. It situates the development of national constitutionalism against three backdrops: the global constitutional realm, the regional Middle East system, and the Gulf sub-region. It considers the integration of Gulf constitutions in the global study of constitutionalism by emphasizing that these texts – while often highly circumscribed – ought to be examined as the expression of an evolving balance of powers between ruler and ruled. The chapter reflects on common themes underlying Arab Gulf constitutional development, including the rise of social movements in many states calling for parliamentary representation, the continued domination of monarchies on all branches of government, and the budding but limited role of courts. It sets these themes against the mostly unyielding commitment by Rulers to a mode of governance that is (i) monarchical, (ii) conservative, (iii) centralized, (iv) monolithic and (v) patriarchal, and which appears to contradict some of the very basis of constitutionalism. A final section draws on the historic roots of the promise of istiham, translated as voting, a concept developed in the Ahkam sultaniyya of Abu Ya‘la’s, an 11th century Hanbali jurist, as an alluring harbinger of the right to vote for the political leader of the community.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 196 73 16
PDF Views & Downloads 519 111 8