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2018

The “jinsiyya” obsession and the Muwatana veil: the constitutional politics of citizenship in the 21st century

Conference of Gianluca PAROLIN the Second PLURIEL International Congress in Rome.

Nation-states have added a further level of complexity to the multiple dimensions of belonging: that of (national) citizenship. After tracing some of its past developments, my contribution will focus on its current trends. The constitutional politics of citizenship in the legal systems that use Arabic as their official language, I argue, is a telling incarnation of some of citizenship’s idiosyncrasies in the region.
References to ‘citizenship’ in constitutional texts have multiplied over the past couple of decades, globally. And legal systems that use Arabic as their official language are no exception. Such increase in citizenship provisions in constitutions needs to be closely examined, however, and I will focus on the latter systems.
One could group these new citizenship provisions in three blocs: (1) provisions on jinsiyya regulations, in line with the liberal trend that prefers to set such regulations at the constitutional level to try and avoid the legislators’ whims on such momentous decisions on membership in the political community; (2) provisions involving single-jinsiyya requirements to hold public office, counter to the liberal tendency to reduce them; and (3) provisions emphasising muwatana as the mode of the political system, in line with the liberal emphasis on the participation of citizens in decision-making.
The paper will frame these constitutional developments in light of the enforcement that these provisions have seen in recent years. The two trends that seem to be in line with the liberal trend [1 & 3] are contradicted by executive practices and by the very governance design, while the counter-trend [2] has been heavily profited from.

Titre original : “THE JINSIYYA OBSESSION AND THE MUWATANA VEIL: THE CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICS OF CITIZENSHIP IN THE 21ST CENTURY”

Conférence de Gianluca PAROLIN lors du deuxième Congrès international de PLURIEL à Rome.

Les États-nations ont ajouté un niveau supplémentaire de complexité aux multiples dimensions de l’appartenance : celle de la citoyenneté (nationale). Après avoir retracé certains de ses développements passés, ma contribution se concentrera sur ses tendances actuelles. La politique constitutionnelle de la citoyenneté dans les systèmes juridiques qui utilisent l’arabe comme langue officielle est, à mon avis, une incarnation éloquente de certaines particularités de la citoyenneté dans la région.

Les références à la “citoyenneté” dans les textes constitutionnels se sont multipliées au cours des dernières décennies à l’échelle mondiale. Et les systèmes juridiques qui utilisent l’arabe comme langue officielle ne font pas exception. Une telle augmentation des dispositions relatives à la citoyenneté dans les constitutions doit toutefois être examinée de près, et je me concentrerai sur ces derniers systèmes.

On pourrait regrouper ces nouvelles dispositions sur la citoyenneté en trois blocs : (1) dispositions sur les règlements sur la jinsiyya, conformément à la tendance libérale qui préfère fixer de tels règlements au niveau constitutionnel pour tenter d’éviter les caprices des législateurs sur des décisions aussi importantes sur l’appartenance à la communauté politique ; (2) les dispositions comportant des exigences relatives à une seule jinsiyya pour occuper une charge publique, contre la tendance libérale à les réduire ; et (3) des dispositions mettant l’accent sur le muwatana comme mode de système politique, en ligne avec l’accent libéral sur la participation des citoyens à la prise de décision.

Le document décrira ces développements constitutionnels à la lumière de l’application de ces dispositions au cours des dernières années. Les deux tendances qui semblent s’aligner sur la tendance libérale [1 & 3] sont contredites par les pratiques et par la conception même de la gouvernance, alors que la contre-tendance [2] en a largement profité.

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