The great dilemma, to which we have not found a solution for centuries, is the establishment of a stable political system that enables us to preserve the unity of society, peacefully solve its conflicts, and direct its powers to creation and creativity in all fields. And because the political system is the first condition for all this, and in its absence, we have wasted all these decades in wars and cultural sterility.
The despotic regime is the heir of countless historical forms of it, it is the one that fueled the revolutions of the Arab Spring, and it is he who will be the cause of the next explosions, and therefore no good is hoped for, but rather all evil, especially since its remnants after each revolution lead the counterrevolution.
That’s why autocrats are twice as criminals. The first time when they took care of the fate of the peoples and led them to rebellion, and the second time when they – with the most humble and bloodiest means – confronted their right to establish a sovereign social democratic system that would guarantee them freedom, dignity and prosperity; That is, all the things that they failed to achieve.
The calamity is that these tyrannicals have managed to infiltrate and seize the institutions of democracy, which we hope will be the tool for getting out of violence and sterility, and turning them towards serving their interests, as viruses do when they enter the body.
The issue, then, is not just laying the foundations for a democratic system, but rather is learning from all the mistakes that accompanied such anchoring so that democracy is not a mere separator between two despots.
Among the most important lessons of the Tunisian experience, which I hope Arab democrats will put in mind in all stages of building a sustainable and effective political system:
1- Preventing autocrats from hijacking vehicles or restoring them
These mechanisms are the media, party organization, and civil society institutions. Most of them are in the hands of the financial political gangs that were able – and not only in Tunisia – to use them to control democracy.
We must have an accurate diagnosis of the causes and ease of seizure.
The source of the disease is corruption, which makes some media professionals conscientious for hire, some parties are political brokerage firms, and some civil society institutions are a source of livelihood from foreign money from which brokers of major humanitarian or societal issues live. The result is an election whose results are determined by the ability to mislead voters after fund-stuffing – as was the case in the era of tyranny – became a primitive method that was referred to retirement.
The kidnapped mechanisms can only be recovered through policies that clean the media, parties, civil society institutions and trade unions from corruption.
Democracy must fight corrupt media; Not only by prevention and suppression, but by building a public media distinguished by its integrity and objectivity.
We desperately need a law that does not give the status of a party except under several conditions. Including the cleanliness of the founders, a commitment to democracy in the organization and the program, a sufficient number of those involved distributed all over the country, an actual program, in which the new solutions to problems do not repeat vulgar slogans, the transparency of the budget and the sources of funding, a training period of not less than two years from the time the application is filed A conference in which all the conditions for democracy are respected.
It is only when all these rules are respected that the party becomes recognized, and then has the right to public funding; Because it is considered a body of public benefit, with constant monitoring of its budget and its respect for the rules of democracy inside and outside it.
Thus, the adventurers and the corrupt will not be able to erect overnight in the political market, to obtain an enormous number of seats in Parliament, with corrupt media and buy votes, as happened repeatedly in post-revolution Tunisia.
Numerous experiences prove that there is no stability in a country, and no government will be devoted to its mission; Except in a parliament that holds dialogue, and in which two parties compete, as is the case in Britain, America and India; Or in the most extreme cases 3 or 4 parties, as in France and Germany; Other than this is a blessing that turned into a curse.
2- Education and rationalization of the people of citizens
Voters should be seen as consumers of political merchandise that must be protected from thieves and fraudsters, just as consumers protect meat and vegetables from toxic or worn out materials. Such protection begins from an early age, with education and education on the values and institutions of democracy. Waiting for these new generations, there is a tremendous role that independent bodies that monitor the media and religious guidance must play with the greatest possible guarantees so that the elections are not a lost gamble, which is choosing the deceived among the number of deceivers.
3- To enact an electoral law to rule by the majority
After the revolution in Tunisia, the Democratic Transition Commission adopted an extremely pernicious electoral law, which was looking behind the veil of representing all political currents to prevent the Ennahda movement from the majority, and then prevent it from forming a government with an Islamic majority. My position on that day, so be it, was to rule the Renaissance: If it succeeds, that will be the success of the country, and if it fails, the democracy that it brought will take it and replace it with another homogeneous government.
Unfortunately, no voice was heard to me, and the forbidden event that Tunisia continues to suffer from today, as no government is more than a year and a half old, and which government is able to accomplish something in such a circumstance ?, As for Parliament, with its dispersion and constant struggle between tribes and tribes, it has become The locus of the people’s contempt, and perhaps the greatest facilitator of the return of tyranny.
All this was expected, and many experiences prove that there is no stability for a country, and a government will not devote itself to its mission; Except in a parliament that holds dialogue, and in which two parties compete, as is the case in Britain, America and India; Or in the most extreme cases 3 or 4 parties, as in France and Germany; Other than this is a blessing that turned into a curse.
4- Setting strict and objective conditions for candidacy
It does not occur to anyone to board a plane whose pilot does not have long experience, and the formation of his company, and who accepted it, was a long-established school of aviation. No one takes his mother to a doctor just because he is young and elegant in appearance, and it does not occur to the mind of an ancient university to be presided over by an unknown who emerged out of nowhere, and does not have the slightest academic degree. This is precisely what happens to the leadership of societies and countries, and this imbalance is what democracy allows, and it is the most important source of its growing weakness.
There are at least 3 requirements for manpower to make the best use of the system.
Political condition: Nothing is more difficult than practicing politics, since it is the art of running the affairs of society. To achieve the maximum possible security and stability, a fair distribution of wealth, power and prestige, and with the least possible amount of violence. It is an art that no university studies with the exception of the University of Life, and it is acquired only with experience not less than a decade or two in collective work, whether within parties or within unions or civil society organizations.
My admiration for those who call themselves independents, who present their ignorance of politics and their contempt for it as the greatest honor on their chests. It is a wonder no less than astonishing to those who vote for them in the elections, as they are looking for a solution to their disease with a charlatan instead of searching for a better doctor than the one who disappointed them.
Therefore, there is a deep collective thinking waiting for us to reformulate the old laws, and the concern is to protect the regime from opportunists and adventurers and from the balloons made by the paid media so that it does not advance to win the confidence of citizens. Except for those who fulfill the three conditions. Otherwise, the result will be more exhaustion of exhausted peoples, and sometimes their leadership to the abyss under the banner of “heal them and blind them.”
The moral requirementThe candidate for any responsibility must be free from all political vice, meaning that he cannot be corrupt or supportive of tyranny inside or outside the country, otherwise it would be like introducing a germ into an unvaccinated body.
– The professional condition: the most dangerous people to the system are those who have nothing but the profession of politics, and the most beneficial are those who have given a lot to society in their professional field and have shined in it. Their professional experience is the best guarantee for their seriousness and the speed of their learning to face the huge problems of major responsibilities.
5- Extending and limiting the mandate
Few people know the reason for banning presidential elections for more than two terms as stated in the Tunisian constitution (and in most African constitutions, which causes a constant headache for many African presidents who are forced to change the constitution, which they pledged to adhere to at the beginning of their first term).
It is George Washington, the first American president (1789-1797) who refused a third term, exhausted by illness and disgusted by the frequent attacks on him. And because he was the founder of the republic, it was said to everyone who wants a third session: Do you consider yourself greater than Washington?
But is it sacred to set a two-cycle ceiling for a mere historical accident starring an exhausted American president?
What experience shows is that the second session is an obsession for every president and every parliamentarian, from the middle of the first term until before. Thus, the public service goal of the second site recedes, and the man is involved despite his nose in the game of searching for alliances, support and satisfaction, most of the time at the expense of being fully devoted to crucial issues and planning for real long-term interests, which require sacrifices of popularity and the consent of this or that lobby.
To liberate the politician – whether he is a president, a people’s deputy, or a mayor – from the obsession of the second session, the mandate must be a single mandate. What about the downsides of such an option? Again, there is no absolute solution, but rather the least bad solutions.
What the experience of governance shows is that if there are courageous and necessary decisions that guarantee a measure of popularity, then most of the courageous and necessary decisions only bring problems, discontent and anger, from this or that sector of society. Only one mandate is capable of freeing the politician from pressures and blackmail, and making all his efforts focused on his work, and does not discourage him from difficult choices that are inevitable in the interest of everyone, and only an official can free them, even relatively, from the pressures of the present.
However, is it not possible to be afflicted with a lazy official who does nothing but enjoy his mandate, or a two-legged disaster that all selection techniques have failed to prevent him from reaching the center of decision?
Yes, such a risk is possible. Therefore, the president of the republic, the people’s deputy, the head of government, the minister, the mayor of the municipality, may be required to present in the middle of his mandate a schedule of what he has done and what he has achieved. He will present his report to Parliament if he is president or head of government, to the head of government if he is a minister, and to his perspectives if he is a mayor, so that he may be allowed to continue or be dismissed.
What if misdemeanor laziness or bullying in the second half of the custody?
Here, too, damages can be minimized, and every official knows that at the end of the term he will demand a full report on all that he has submitted, and that he will receive thanks and congratulations, and his name will be placed for the date in the golden record for the service of the masters of the people, or he will refuse to thank him until he is presented with a list of blame and condemnation that remains a stain on his record .
What about the duration? The president, the government, or the municipal council must have sufficient time for in-depth thinking, quiet work, long-term planning, and appropriate time to follow up on the progress of files, and it seems to me that a period of 7 years fulfills that. In addition, with such an extension of the mandate period, we will save society from the instability that all democracies suffer from, not to mention the waste of money and effort associated with the rapid successive elections.
6- Permanent coordination with the popular incubator
If you want to know the nature of any state, regardless of what it describes itself, then see its relationship with civil society organizations.
The rule: If you consider it an enemy that must be fought or a competitor that must be contained, then you are facing an authoritarian state or a fake democracy. If you see that it deals with it as a partner and pillar, then know that you are facing a true democratic state.
It is not surprising that the democratic state does not progress in achieving its goals – such as fighting corruption or poverty – except through a real and continuous partnership with civil society organizations, provided that it is free from corruption or from extortion of foreign funding. This means that in order to harden our nascent democracy, all state institutions – from the presidency to the various ministries and municipalities – must have permanent partnership contracts with serious organizations that support them financially and coordinate with them in all areas of common interest.
7- Establish and maintain continuous monitoring mechanisms
Just as no body is permanently immune to viruses, and just as viruses adapt to always find an outlet to cells to destroy them, so we must consider our democratic system – no matter what reforms we introduce to it – constantly threatened, from within it by opportunists and outside it by tyrants.
Therefore, it is imperative that we find a body to monitor his health and suggest means of treatment and prevention before it is too late.
This body should be made up of those who know well the system, and are outside it, such as former presidents or senior judges, media professionals, academics and retired clerics. They must be given legal status, and work possibilities to monitor the mechanisms and institutions of the democratic system, track cracks and monitor dangers. So that its annual reports do not end in forgotten shelves, and the authority must be granted to the people in their annual evaluation, the founding law must also give them the right to present draft laws directly to Parliament, to avoid shortcomings and avoid the dangers identified.
With such rules and reviewing them periodically in light of what experience does with it, we can hope for a long-lived democracy, as we hope for a young body with a long life if it has the most conditions of health, most of which are conditions for the ability to resist diseases and dangers, which leave no being of flesh or blood, or An institution of ideas and values that is safe from the trials and tests of life.