Can Egypt's Troubled Elections Produce a More Democratic Future?

Publication Date: December 2005

Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Author(s): Nathan Brown; Amr Hamzawy

Research Area: Politics

Type: Brief

Coverage: Egypt


The Egyptian political system has emerged sharply bipolar from recent parliamentary elections. While the ruling National Democratic Party won its expected victory, the performance of the Muslim Brotherhood surprised the NDP and the secular opposition forces. How will the Egyptian government react to the opposition's success? Will both groups be able to coexist peacefully in the democratically-elected parliament?

Hamzawy and Brown argue that the Mubarak regime has three choices: to resort to escalating repressive measures, to accept the new role of the Brotherhood and integrate it fully, or to accommodate it in a rather cautious way. Given the new weight of the Brotherhood as the dominant bloc within the opposition camp, the movement might be tempted to press for immediate political gains, which could raise acute policy dilemmas for the Egyptian government, the U.S. and others.