Egypt’s Presidential Elections



By Nir Boms and Aaron Mannes

With international attention focused on the Palestinian and Iraqi elections, the October presidential referendum in Egypt will be little more than a re-inauguration for President Hosni Mubarak, who seeks to regain the presidency for the fifth time and to pave the way for his son Gamal to succeed him. Yet, this time Mr. Mubarak could face a real challenger. “If given the chance, I personally want to run to break the barrier of fear and intimidation,” Professor Saad al-Din Ibrahim, perhaps the Arab world’s leading voice for democracy and human rights, stated. “Not that I have real hopes of success, but I want to show my fellow Egyptians that nothing should be a political taboo.” An open political contest in the largest Arab nation would be an enormous advance for democracy in the Middle East. But Mr. Ibrahim will probably not get this chance, because under the Egyptian constitution the parliament nominates the sole candidate and the citizens can only approve by voting either “yes” or “no”.

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Reforms, Freedom in Egypt

By Nir Boms and Michael Meunier
Published November 4, 2004

Egypt has gone through 26 years of single-party rule, during which unemployment has risen to 25 percent. Regime opponents have been jailed, and many promises of political reform have been consistently ignored. Nearly everyone — the United States, Egyptian opposition, even the ruling party of President Hosni Mubarak — agrees that it is time for a change in the Arab world’s largest country. 

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On Egypt and the Rhetoric of Freedom

By Nir Boms | August 13, 2003

Reforms are a complicated business. Last year, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, in his capacity as the chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP) announced his plan for reform in party and country. “It is a time to move forward,” he said. He moved to appoint his own son, Gamal Mubarak, to oversee this new trend toward democracy. View full post…

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Egypt’s Empty Promise


EGYPT, the world’s largest Arab country, is now having its second round of elections this year. Sadly, that news isn’t as good as it looks.

Just last month, President Hosni Mubarak Egypt’s leader for 24 years, won re-election – on a far-from-level playing field. Parliamentary elections are now under way – and the first round saw considerable gains by candidates affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

The Mubarak regime had billed the September presidential vote as the “launch” of a “new path of progress” for Egypt. But words and promises are cheap in the Middle East.

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