x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

ElBaradei warns of new dictators post revolution

Contender to replace deposed Egyptian president says establishing rule of law post-revolution is the only way to make sure new dictatorships do not arise.

Mohamed ElBaradei, shown waving to supporters in Tahrir Square in January, told lawyers in Dubai yesterday that it was vital to involve citizens in every strata of governance and law.
Mohamed ElBaradei, shown waving to supporters in Tahrir Square in January, told lawyers in Dubai yesterday that it was vital to involve citizens in every strata of governance and law.

DUBAI // A contender to replace the deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has told a conference in Dubai that establishing clear rule of law in Arab Spring countries is crucial to stop new dictators rising.

Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, a major player in the Egyptian revolution and former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said it should be a matter of priority for countries such as Libya, Egypt and Tunisia to ensure no single figure could assume control.

"Government and civil service institutions have been completely torn down in these countries because they were based on corruption and fraud," Dr ElBaradei said in his keynote address to the International Bar Association conference in Dubai on Sunday.

"There, the establishment of a rule of law will be the basis for the establishment of good governance. Good governance will ultimately lead to a sustainable democracy in those countries."

He said new governments would need to ensure citizens were involved in every strata of governance and law, and must be accountable and transparent.

"To avoid new dictatorships in countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, the people have to be involved and equally represented in the development of a governance and legal system," said Dr ElBaradei, who along with the IAEA won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

"We need to make some assurances that the democratic governance system is sustainable."

But the process would be complicated, he said, because in some Arab countries the citizens had not experienced democracy.

"People need to understand democracy. It is not an instant coffee, it takes time," Dr ElBaradei said.

He said international assistance for economic development would be needed to rebuild dismantled governments and weak or non-existent civil services.

Dr ElBaradei said one of the major causes of the Arab Spring was weak governance.

"As an example, the non-oil trade of over 400 million Arabs combined equals that of Switzerland, which is home to only 8 million people," he said. "This is due to the lack of good governance, the support of corruption by ruthless leaders and distrust between Arab countries."

Countries in the region unaffected by the tide of change must engage in dialogue, Dr ElBaradei said.

"Failure to manage change could be a major setback in the region," he said.

"Egypt and Tunisia were peaceful compared to what happened in Libya and what is happening in Syria and Yemen. This affects the whole region."

His speech was made before more than 5,000 lawyers from around the world at the Dubai conference.

amustafa@thenational.ae