Arab Reform Initiative, June 2012.
Civil-military relations have long been an important topic for political science scholars. Not only in regimes in transition is there a potential conflict between civilians and the armed forces when it comes to politics. As a hierarchically constituted body that holds and may exercise force, the military has the means to appropriate political power – or at least to exercise a predominant influence on that power – without having been called to govern by popular suffrage. The intervention of the military in politics therefore constitutes a major challenge for establishing democratic systems and ensuring their well-functioning.
In a context of democratic transition, relations between civilians and the military and the way they are organised by the basic texts deserve particular attention. The process of drawing up a constitution and the rules of law that result are determining elements of the democratic transition and of democratic consolidation.
The Algerian, Pakistani and Turkish experiences constitute interesting points of reference when it comes to examining the political role of the military and, more generally, the relations between civilians and the military. Even if this theme has also been a central issue in the democratic transitions in Latin America, these three ‘models’ are the most regularly invoked in the debates taking place in Egypt.