First Results in for Egypt’s Parliamentary Elections

Although the final results of Egypt’s first democratic election in decades have yet to be released, early reports indicate Egypt’s Islamist blocs to have taking the top position. According to the Bloomberg Business week, Egypt’s two main Islamist parties may have claimed up to 70 percent of the vote. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party appear to have won 40 percent in the first round of elections and, more surprisingly, is that the ultra conservative Salafi Al-Nour Party said it may have received 30 percent of the vote. Coming in third place is the secular Egyptian Bloc, which said it may have won as much as 20 percent of the vote.  Second round run-offs for closely contested seats will begin early next week, followed by further parliamentary elections in Egypt’s providences that have yet to cast their ballots.   Other sources indicate these percentages to be slightly high, yet, all sources point to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi Parties as being in the top positions.

full article available here.

Current Affairs: Calm Prevails in Egypt’s Elections

New York Times: In a surprise, Calm Prevails in Egypt’s Elections

By David D. Kirkpatrick

November 28, 2011

Full article here.

Even with the ruling military tightly holding on to power,  and after a mass of protests in Cairo last week,  a unexpectedly large number of Egyptian people made it out yesterday to vote in the first parliamentary elections since the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak.  It appears that citizens in the post-revoultion atmosphere feel that it is their duty to continue to make their voices heard.  The hope, however,  that the elections will be legitimate and without corruption is still dismal. One protester said, “It is like a play, it is like a sham. we are pretending to be voting.” Protest leaders have urged those in the street to go to the polls to express their grievances. The military government sees the turnout as a success and an indication of citizens’ approval of their transition timeline. The real impact of these elections unfortunately won’t been seen for several months.

 

A Story of Infitah: Egyptian Liberalization Under Stress

Authors: Hamz a Ates, Mehmet Duman, Yuksel Bayraktar

Economic Review

Download full article here: Egypt under stress

Date Published: June 2006

This article proves as a good supplement to that of the previous post. The past four decades of Egypt’s economic history are lucidly outlined.  This includes a description of the pre-Infitah atmosphere, the pressures in transition, and the policies of Mubarak leading up to the revolution.  Because the article was written in 2006, the connection between this economic transformation and the uprising are not made. However, the article discusses that one of the major consequences of liberalization was that of enhanced budget deficits. WIth these deficits, came restructuring polices which included some fairly drastic austerity measures, including reduced government subsidies to the poor and cuts in social services. These measures were pushed on the Egyptian people in a time when there was large numbers of unemployed and a stagnant real wage.  Could these dramatic economic conditions pushed the Egyptian youth (who were experiencing levels of unemployment greater than 20%) to the street?

Egypt’s “Infitah” and the Politics of US Economic Assistance

Full article available for download here: Egypt’s Infitah

Source: Middle Eastern Studies, Vol 21, No. 2 (April., 1985)

Marvin G. Weinbaum

This paper gives necessary insight for anyone interested in Egypt’s socioeconomic transition away from the socialist leaning government of Gamal Abdul Nassar towards what was described as “free market” capitalism under Sadat.  Weinbaum discusses the influence of U.S. aid on the Egyptian administration, how that aid policy changed, and how Egypt’s Infitah (opening) may not have been an opening at all.

Too Much Civil Society, Too Little Politics: Egypt and Liberalizing Arab Regimes

Too Much Civil Society, Too Little Politics: Egypt and Liberalizing Arab Regimes

Date published: January 2004

By Vickie Langohr ; Download here: Too much civil society

This article provides a interesting perspective on the ability of the liberal reform agenda, which was implemented in the 1990s in much of the MENA states, to bring about democratization.  Langohr discusses the interaction that authoritarian states have in the region with civil society, particularly the influence of nongovernmental organizations as opposition to authority.  Her findings are quite bleak.  It appears that liberalization did not directly bring about democratic reforms in these countries. However, in light of the recent ArabSpring, its curious to ask if maybe these liberalizations are in part responsible for the mass uprisings that occurred in this region. I would argue that this is the case.

2005 – Egypt’s poor untouched by economic boom

Source: Aljazeera.com

9/1/2005

“Egypt’s economy is growing at its fastest pace in years, exports are surging and the bourse is booming, but there is little sign yet of an economic revival in the poor suburbs and crowded slums of the capital”

This article from Al Jazeera English describes a pre-uprising atmosphere in Egypt where the country’s poor saw little befit from the country’s growing economy.  At the turn of the century, the Mubarak administration, in accordance with its structural adjustment package, privatized much of the country’s state run businesses. This led to massive lay off of Egyptian workers.  Official unemployments estimates at the time were around 10 percent, however, unofficial estimates, which include jobs outside of recognized labor, placed the unemployment rate at levels up to twice that number.  With roughly 20 percent of the population unemployed, the government cutting its public sector, and reducing its provided social services to reduce its deficit, its no wonder that people took to the streets in rage.

Full article available here.