Against the backdrop of this historic electoral battle, much more is at stake than the country’s highest office, EgyptSource editor Mara Revkin and Egyptian Judge Yussef Auf argue in a new issue brief for the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

While the election certainly represents a critical milestone, or perhaps a setback, in the consolidation of Egypt’s nascent democracy, the campaign season has stolen the spotlight from an equally important process unfolding under the radar: drafting a new constitution to institutionalize and protect the freedoms envisioned by protesters in Tahrir Square. Not only will the rewritten constitution have a far-reaching impact on the structure of the future political system and the rights of Egyptian citizens, but it will undoubtedly resonate with other transitioning Arab countries that have long looked to Egypt’s strong judiciary and constitutional tradition as a regional model.

All eyes are on the ballot box as Egypt prepares for the second round of the first post-Mubarak presidential election on June 16-17, a controversial run-off between the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP, the party founded by the Muslim Brotherhood) candidate Mohamed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak’s former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, two of the most polarizing candidates in the race who together won only 49 percent of the votes cast in the first stage of polling on May 23-24.

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