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Roadblocks, Forces and Reform in Egyptian Politics

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  1. Introduction
  2. Potential for change
  3. The forces
    1. Islam
    2. Class
    3. The Judiciary
  4. Regional context
  5. The roadblocks
    1. Violence
    2. Voter fraud
    3. Security forces
  6. Solutions for reform
    1. Legal reform
    2. Reshaping the political elite
    3. Empowering women
    4. Labor unions
  7. Pressure form the west
  8. Conclusion

The 2005 elections deemed to be promising for Egypt. Hosni Mubarak had himself claimed to come ?out of my full conviction of the need to consolidate efforts for more freedom and democracy.? The ?reform? agenda had been initiated by the President himself, beginning with his stunning public announcement that he would ask the Majilis Al-Sha'ab to amend Article 76 of the constitution to allow for the first multi party presidential elections in Egypt's history. The NDP having more than a twenty-five year strong hold in Egypt has created much skepticism and turmoil in the lives of ordinary Egyptians. Despite Mubarak's promises, the overwhelming victory of the NDP aided by its violent suppression of oppositional elements, raises some important questions about the Egyptian political status. Numerous concerns of government interference through vote rigging and fraud during the elections was also raised. (Hala, 3) So the questions are numerous about Mubarak's so called commitment to democracy. ?Is it valid?? ?Is there enough of an internal drive in Egypt to achieve real democracy?? ?What are the hurdles to democracy in Egypt?? and ?what can be done to remove these hurdles??

[...] For most Egyptians in their mid-twenties, Mubarak is the only major Egyptian politician they have known, and amongst many, there is a growing concern for uncertainty in the future. Furthermore, low degree of legislative and judicial freedom allows for the executive branch to carry out its ways through fury. Also low economic development, lack of government subsidies and low savings has also decreased the drive for political development amongst Egyptians. Even amongst employed and fairly affluent Egyptians, there is a lack of cohesiveness, since labor unions are banned and most employment syndicates are well politicized under the NDP's rule. [...]

[...] His party attracts a huge amount of capital in form of campaign finance since it's classical liberal ideas have a huge following in the Egyptian elite and wealthy. (Darwish, It is the virtual opposite of the Muslim Brotherhood that lacks funds due to the decreased affluence of its base but does not lack numbers in its support. The Judiciary Another force that has been fundamental in providing a movement for democratic change is the Judicial Branch of the country. The judiciary has been struggling for greater independence slowly yet steadily for quiet a while in Egypt. [...]

[...] With close to seventeen different, independent security force units in Egypt, it becomes one of the most survielled nations in the world. Mubarak's security forces have acquired advanced espionage training from several of the new training centers run by foreign security companies such as Aegis, DynCorp, Pan Arabica, Blackwater etc. There is a basic model for these security forces that cover one governorate each, and can operate in plainclothes as well as uniform. These are extremely well trained and heavily armed, with reports of even foreign personnel being hired to work in these units. [...]

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