Egyptian Democracy’s Last Chance?

Political polarization is threatening Egypt's democratic future. The ruling Islamists and the opposition must work to create broad consensus, beginning by promoting a free and fair general election in the next few months – and the US, the EU, and the IMF must support their efforts.

CAIRO – Egypt’s upcoming general election could help to consolidate its nascent democracy and provide legitimacy to the government’s efforts to address the social, political, economic, and security challenges facing the country. But no election, however successfully conducted, will be enough: Unless Egypt overcomes its current political polarization and builds a broad consensus that includes ruling Islamists and the secular opposition, its problems will persist, jeopardizing the prospect of a democratic future.

Egypt’s lack of strong democratic institutions and its ongoing economic crisis are fueling social unrest and crisis, division, and hostility within the political system. At the same time, insufficiently trained and inadequately supervised police and security forces have become targets of public anger, and Egypt’s security may collapse.

In this context, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s proposal to hold an election in the next few months should be welcomed. Indeed, it is supported by most of the parties that performed well the last time – in the country’s first free election following former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in 2011. But, citing concerns that the elections will not be free and fair, the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) – composed largely of secular parties that fared badly in the last elections – has threatened a boycott.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/97MT4DF;
  1. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

    The Brexit Surrender

    European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have given the go-ahead to talks with Britain on post-Brexit trade relations. But, as European Council President Donald Tusk has said, the most difficult challenge – forging a workable deal that secures broad political support on both sides – still lies ahead.

  2. The Great US Tax Debate

    ROBERT J. BARRO vs. JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS on the impact of the GOP tax  overhaul.


    • Congressional Republicans are finalizing a tax-reform package that will reshape the business environment by lowering the corporate-tax rate and overhauling deductions. 

    • But will the plan's far-reaching changes provide the boost to investment and growth that its backers promise?


    ROBERT J. BARRO | How US Corporate Tax Reform Will Boost Growth

    JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS | Robert Barro's Tax Reform Advocacy: A Response

  3. Murdoch's Last Stand?

    Rupert Murdoch’s sale of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney for $66 billion may mark the end of the media mogul’s career, which will long be remembered for its corrosive effect on democratic discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. 

    From enabling the rise of Donald Trump to hacking the telephone of a murdered British schoolgirl, Murdoch’s media empire has staked its success on stoking populist rage.

  4. Bank of England Leon Neal/Getty Images

    The Dangerous Delusion of Price Stability

    Since the hyperinflation of the 1970s, which central banks were right to combat by whatever means necessary, maintaining positive but low inflation has become a monetary-policy obsession. But, because the world economy has changed dramatically since then, central bankers have started to miss the monetary-policy forest for the trees.

  5. Harvard’s Jeffrey Frankel Measures the GOP’s Tax Plan

    Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a former member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, outlines the five criteria he uses to judge the efficacy of tax reform efforts. And in his view, the US Republicans’ most recent offering fails miserably.

  6. A box containing viles of human embryonic Stem Cell cultures Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    The Holy Grail of Genetic Engineering

    CRISPR-Cas – a gene-editing technique that is far more precise and efficient than any that has come before it – is poised to change the world. But ensuring that those changes are positive – helping to fight tumors and mosquito-borne illnesses, for example – will require scientists to apply the utmost caution.

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now