Egyptian Politics 2006

Sarah Ben Néfissa


The year 2006 in Egyptian politics was preceded by aperiod of an unprecedentedly broad-based movement for democracy, political and institutional reforms, the first‘pluralist’ presidential elections, which confirmed Hosni Mubarak in his post and finally, legislative elections, withthe significant entry of the Muslim Brotherhood into thePeople’s Assembly, which won 88 out of a total of 444seats. The year 2006 itself, on the other hand, was characterised by an ebb of democratic activism, the regime’s return to authoritarian methods and above all,the consolidation of the ‘hereditary political succession’scenario, with Gamal Mubarak succeeding his father. Inany case, the regional situation, inparticularwith the victory of Hamas in Palestine, the war waged by Hezbollah against the Israeli military forces in Lebanon and the rise of Iran as a possible future regional power,contributed significantly to diminishing international and particularly US pressure for democratisation of the Egyptian regime. The latter thus consolidated its continuity. Egypt 2006 was likewise the stage for important social movements, as if the changeof political climate in 2005 had had delayed effects onother spheres, in this case, the social and labourmilieus.The democratic movement instigated and developed among the ranks of the political and intellectual elitesubsided in 2006 due to a series of factors: thedisillusionment generated by the poor political and institutional results of 2005; the demobilisation of part of the actors; the repressive stance taken against them;and finally, increasing internal division. This was preciselythe case with the EgyptianMovement forChange, better known by its slogan, ‘Kifaya,’ or ‘Enough,’ which wassingular because it united all branches of politicalopposition in the country, including the Islamist political tendency.

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