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Opposition in Egypt: Performance in the Presidential Election and Prospects for the Parliamentary Elections

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Abstract:

In Egypt's first-ever multicandidate presidential election on September 7, opponents to President Mubarak's regime performed poorly, and Mubarak swept the election with 88.6 percent of the vote to secure his fifth presidential term. But is this landslide victory a mandate for the ruling party's power and policies? Or does the election outcome merely signify Egyptian opposition's current marginality, which must be overcome to bolster democratic reforms?

In this new Policy Outlook, Carnegie Senior Associate Amr Hamzawy provides analyses of the opposition's strategies and performance in the presidential election. He argues that the National Democratic Party's continued entrenchment in state institutions and the ongoing partial repression of political activity are major factors in the weakness of the opposition. In addition, Hamzawy states that the opposition forces' own internal weaknesses and miscalculations have also contributed to their problematic situation. Without well-defined platforms, Egypt's opposition will lose credibility and remain unable to mobilize broad constituencies for political reform.