For weeks now, our Arab world has been witnessing a popular and political dynamic, the likes of which have never been seen in its contemporary history.
These movements have been crowned with two popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, giving birth to great hope for a number of other Arab peoples, who can look forward to a better tomorrow based on freedom and equality, where institutions are regulated by democracy and devoted to the rule of law.
Indeed, what is happening clearly expresses the yearning of Arab populaces for freedom, dignity, and justice, and for their legitimate right to change conditions without violence or war.
We, as researchers and activists from Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco, have met for years to establish a network dealing with the study of democracy, mechanisms of democratic transformation, and concepts of citizen deliberation with the goal of change. We announce our pride in the achievements of the Egyptian and Tunisian peoples and our solidarity with all Egyptians in the face of the criminal attacks and attempts at intimidation by those loyal to the regime and its head. We hope that peaceful movements of reform and change prevail throughout the Arab world in order to rebuild our societies and begin living in an age of stability and freedom under the sovereignty of the rule of law.
We declare also that fortifying any democratic transformation requires the following:
— Respect for human rights and affirmation of equality among citizens, whether male or female
— Enacting new legislation that ends the permanent state of emergency and grants the freedoms of political action, including respect for freedom of expression and ratification of new electoral laws guaranteeing equitable representation
— Judicial reform ensuring the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law over all
— Public administration reform by enacting laws combating corruption and clientelism
— Undertaking constitutional reform limiting the absolute powers of presidents or kings and adopting a system of divided and balanced powers
— Organize free and fair general elections resulting in parliaments that actually represent various political forces, as long as they accept a democratic approach based on popular mandate and peaceful transfers of power
— Initiate the implementation of economic and financial reforms and development of social policies in order to confront poverty, unemployment, and the other severe crises that afflict broad segments of our societies
Each peaceful, democratic path demands wider citizen participation to ensure the sustainability of reform and continuation in the devolution of power. It also requires independence from all negative possible influences from both regional and external actors violating our peoples’ sovereignty in their respective nations.
The Arab Network for the Study of Democracy is keeping pace with what is going on and will issue reports and publications subsequently that analyze the major transformations that our Arab world is currently experiencing.