Wednesday, September 7, 2005
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)
Whither Egyptian democracy?
Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential elections were held today, and much of the press coverage echoes this London Times account by Richard Beesron: "the experiment in democracy risked being seriously compromised by intimidation, electoral abuse and widespread voter apathy."
Dan Murphy's account in the Christian Science Monitor includes corruption among the sins of this elecvtion:
Sounds rather depressing. However, Steven Cook writes on Foreign Policy's web site that in the long term, Hosni Mubarak may get more reform than he originally planned:
UPDATE: The AP's Maggie Michael reports that Egypt's regime might be feeling some blowback earlier than he had anticipated:
posted by Dan on 09.07.05 at 04:46 PM
I'm not sure the direction this points in leads to democracy. It could conceivably lead to a more open political process and less concentrated power, which on the whole is likely to be a good thing. But the reports I've read suggest the dominant public reaction to the Egyptian elections is apathy. I understand it's different for what used to be called the intelligentsia and some others, but most Egyptians are not used to being consulted on national policies and cannot have much idea what to suggest if they were.
Again, movement away from autocracy is likely to be a good thing, even if Mubarak's autocracy has sometimes seemed more nominal than real. We just shouldn't get carried away in our thinking about what is possible now, or exaggerate how much democracy in Egypt we really need. The United States needs a humane, stable Egypt capable of exercising leadership in the Arab world. That's it.posted by: Zathras on 09.07.05 at 04:46 PM [permalink]
In the current Commentary, Muravchik reports on recent visit to Egypt. His assessment of Kifaya: "there is no escaping the fact that democracy is advocated here not as a value in itself but as a method for strengthening the heroic fight against America and Israel. Movements that have come to power elsewhere on such programs have regularly discarded their democratic goals in favor of their heroic ones."
Post a Comment: