Resignation of sovereignty by the people to the government was not, in other words, to be interpreted as the people's having permanently giving up their sovereignty or their having done so unconditionally. Indeed, the very concept of the social contract emphasizes the sovereign rights of the people, acknowledges that a sovereign people have given a certain person, the ruler, their consent to govern over them in exchange for his protection of their rights and liberties, among other things. The social contract is, therefore, the constitution which outlines the legal basis of the state as a moral, political and economic institution and the rights and duties of the citizens within, and the state's responsibilities and obligations towards citizens.
The concept of the social contract, as defined and discussed by Locke and Rousseau, shed interesting light upon the phenomenon of modern day constitutions. The constitution, as may be deduced from these theories, is the contract between the government, the state and the ruler and the people. It outlines the duties owed by the ruler to the people and the rights and freedoms of the people within the limits of the law. More importantly, as with any contract, there is a legal obligation to respect it. Indeed, as both Locke and Rousseau concluded, should the ruler violate the terms of the contract, the contract is no longer applicable and the ruler's governance is illegitimate. Accordingly, we may similarly conclude that if a government violates the terms of the constitution, the government becomes illegitimate.
It is quite interesting to consider a national constitution as a contract which both parties, citizens and governments, are legally obliged to abide by. It becomes even more interesting when we consider that the violation of the terms of the constitution on the part of the government/ruler, renders that ruler/government illegitimate. This is simply because, were we to apply this as a basic rule, the Egyptian government will, in essence, emerge as an illegitimate entity; an institution which, insofar as it neither abides by constitutional guarantees pertaining to the rights and freedoms of citizens, and constitutional limitations on its authority, has violated the Articles of the Egyptian Constitution.
Through an analysis of the provisions of the Egyptian Constitution regarding the equality of citizens and their equal right to political, economic and civil liberties, the research shall initially establish that the constitution defines Egyptian citizens as equal, and endows them with equal political, economic and civil rights. Upon the analysis of the rights awarded minority groups in Egypt, such as Copts and women, the research shall establish that, insofar as they are denied equality, they are effectively denied that which the constitution has guaranteed them. The conclusion to this research shall review the implications of this as regards the legitimacy of the government.
1 The Egyptian Constitution's Provisions on Equality
The Egyptian Consti