Egypt’s Constitutional Test: Averting the March toward Islamic Fundamentalism

Hany Besada
Senior Researcher

After gaining overwhelming support in a March 2007 national

referendum, long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak introduced

new constitutional amendments that effectively give more

power to the president and loosen controls on security forces.
Mubarak’s amendments constitute the latest move in a set of

orchestrated plans not only to entrench the stronghold of his own

National Democratic Party and pave the way for his son as his

successor but also to curb the power and ambition of his greatest

opposition – the Muslim Brotherhood. As he steps into his fifth

consecutive six-year term in office, Mubarak and his regime are

being met with harsh criticism as opposition groups, human rights

advocates, and Western governments urge for meaningful democratic

reform in the country. But promoting democracy is a complex

issue in Egypt, and indeed in much of the Arab world.
Mubarak and other leaders face the Islamist Dilemma, where any

move toward a more democracy-friendly political system threatens

to empower Islamic militants and open the floodgates for nonsecular

political parties.

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