With President Hosni Mubarak’s surprise announcement to amend the constitution and to hold the first direct, multi-candidate presidential elections in September of this year, it appeared that the Egyptian government had made political reform a priority
and was committed to opening the door to greater political competition. The presidential election initially held symbolic significance and the promise of setting the stage for further reform and greater citizen participation. Evenwel, whether this symbolic step toward expanded democratic participation can be characterized as the start of a genuine democratic transition leading to a sustained system of democracy
remains in doubt. De 2005 parliamentary election process suggests otherwise.
The three rounds of parliamentary elections in November and December 2005 appear to have been deeply flawed and will be most remembered for escalating tension over each successive round and outright violence resulting in 12 deaths. Overt intimidation cast a menacing shadow over the second and third phases of elections in particular, and low voter turnout—as with the presidential election—was a notable feature that underscored continued citizen apathy in the political process. Vote buying
was also rampant. Yet despite this, it must be noted that open campaigning for opposition candidates was permitted and that some important procedural changes were made as a result of complaints emerging from the presidential election. globaal, the parliamentary elections seem to indicate that government policies have left the secular opposition extremely weak. Although Egypt does provide for political party engagement—a positive attribute in a region where political parties are not always allowed—the lack of genuine political competition is a pervasive problem that constitutes a major impediment to sustained democratic change.
The most notable features that shaped the electoral environment for parliamentary elections were the fracture and competition between official National Democratic Party-endorsed candidates and those not selected who ran as independents; the inevitable weakness of the secular opposition parties as a result of emergency laws that limited development; and the ability of the Muslim Brotherhood to campaign
freely and demonstrate its strength on the ground despite its status as an illegal
The new parliament, comprised of a majority of NDP members, the near absence of opposition party members, and a solid minority bloc of independents affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood will present a new challenge for the regime and leave democratic reformers uncertain as to their future.

Filed Under: EgypteAanbevolenMoslim BroederschapStudies & Onderzoeken


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