Constitutional Revolution & the Arab Spring
The Middle East Revolution: take 2, Constitutionalism

Professors Chibli Mallat and Tom Ginsburg assess the constitutional moment in the wake of democratic revolution.


Once the head of the dictatorship is deposed, the constitutional moment starts. Working constitutions represent democracy's strategic depth in the Middle East, and provide the institutionalised future for nonviolence as a profound marker of the unfolding revolution. As the concert of draft constitutions, elections and governments unevenly marches across the region, the central common question concerns the reshaping of the social contract in the nonviolent revolution with its myriad hopes of tens of millions of participants as it is seeking the next, inevitable step after the removal of the dictator. The fall of the human symbol of repression, president, king or ayatollah may be a necessary condition. It is never sufficient.