The W&M Progressive

Julian Carr
Richael Faithful
Ethan Forrest

Accepting the Responsibility of Electoral Choice

The development of democratic institutions comes with negative externalities. As a political progressive, I believe that the big picture – establishing a solid democratic foundation – outweighs the possible emergence of political parties that may advocate religious or gender intolerance. I am a firm believer in the workings of the democratic process. While I have been studying in Egypt for the semester, I am reminded that despite the imperfections of the United States democratic system, it is still many times better than living under any authoritarian regime that outlaws political parties and posts military police at a variety of locations in an effort to exert control and maintain power.

In Egypt, the electoral process is not democratic. The National Political Party – the party of President Mubarak – exerts tremendous influence in the country. Its main opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood, which was created in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna. The Muslim Brotherhood is based on very strict interpretations of the Koran and the idea that secular governments are a direct violation of the teaching of the Koran. The party has a very violent past; it has been directly responsible for several assassination attempts and the assassination of the Egyptian leader Anwar-as-Sadat in 1981.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an illegal political party. Because the political party is religious, it is not allowed to participate in the public sphere under Egyptian law. Despite this technicality, the party has members in the Egyptian Parliament. However, the parliamentarians cannot officially declare their affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood but instead identify as Independents. Though the party remains illegal, it remains the most powerful opposition to the ruling National Democratic Party.

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Filed Under: EgyptFeaturedHamasJemaah IslamiyahMuslim BrotherhoodPalestineStudies & ResearchesUnited States & Europe

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