Having closely lived through the disappointing debacle that the new Egyptian Constitution and its drafting process turned out to be, and especially so compared to the still-troubled-yet-more-promising Tunisian Constitution writing process, there are a few lessons from what I perceive to be Egypt’s failures that I humbly hope Libyans can avoid:
1. Take Your Time: Egypt’s Constitution writing process was limited by the military-written constitutional declaration to six months, with a referendum set to be in two weeks of the adoption of the final document. The assumed rationale was to limit the available time so as to force what would essentially be a limited amendment of the 1971 constitution instead of going forth with a brand new document, one whose contents and nature could prove divisive or dangerously problematic, particularly with regards to any theocratic elements.
The result, however, was that the country failed to sufficiently discuss the draft constitution while it was being written and after it was adopted by the assembly, opposition and other members walked out of the assembly toward the end, and Egypt was plunged in a political conflict that nearly brought down the state and still cripples political life, with real life casualties as a result. Furthermore, a close look at the results shows a substantially divided country on that constitution, particularly as you look at more urban demographics.
2. A Balanced And Representative Constituent Assembly: The ideological composition of a parliament does not necessarily reflect fully how a population is ideologically divided. Electoral results are influenced by national conditions, electoral logistics, swing voters, personal appeal of individual candidate, and more. Moreover, results can shift dramatically in each round. Libyans should avoid what Egypt did, in creating the Constituent Assembly heavily dominated by political parties and one political current.