European Forum



On July 3rd 2013, head of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi announced President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the army after weeks of mass unrest against his rule. Al-Sisi also suspended the constitution and would be calling new presidential and Shura Council elections. After Morsi’s removal, violence erupted throughout the country, leading to dozens of (civilian) deaths, among Morsi supporters as well as among his opponents. An interim government was installed by al-Sisi, headed by interim President Adli Mansour. In August a one-month state of emergency was imposed, which Mansour extended for two months on September 12th. The state of emergency has a great symbolic value for Egypt since former President Hosni Mubarak used it for 30 years as an instrument to repress the opposition. The decision to extend the state of emergency has been internationally criticized, saying it restores Mubarak’s regime.
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Recent developments
On 14-15 January, Egyptians voted for the first time since the ouster of President Morsi in a two-day referendum on a new constitution. The new constitution was approved by over 95% and has given a boost to military powers. The new charter replaced the constitution passed under Morsi months before he was overthrown.

On July 3rd 2013 Egypt’s first freely elected leader Mohamed Morsi was removed from power by the Egyptian Armed Forces, led by General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, after days of mass street protests calling for him to step down. After his removal Morsi was put under house arrest. The Egyptian youth movement Tamarod has played a major role in initiating the street protests and was supported by the National Salvation Front, April 6 Youth Movement and the Strong Egypt Party. On July 17th the interim cabinet was sworn in by Egypt’s interim President Adli Mansour. The new technocratic government is led by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi and Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaaeddin, two members of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP).

On August 14th Egypt imposed a one-month state of emergency after hundreds of people were killed when Egyptian security forces moved into camps in Cairo which were occupied by supporters of ousted President Morsi. Many protesters who had been holding sit-ins in and around Egypt’s capital city were dispersed by armed vehicles. As a result of the violent clashes interim Vice-President Mohamed el-Baradei resigned saying peaceful means could still have been found to end the confrontation, but other members of the government rallied behind the decision to use force. According to Amnesty International at least 1,089 people were killed between 14 and 18 August.

A few days after this, on August 23rd, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was released from prison and sent to a military hospital under house arrest as he stands trial on corruption and murder charges. In the meantime several Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been prosecuted for inciting or taking part in violence, along with them former President Morsi.

The Egyptian revolution of 2011 and Morsi's rise to power

The Tunisian revolution that broke out in December 2010 sparked the Egyptian people to take to the streets as well. Large scale demonstrations were organised calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule. Dissatisfactions over corruption, lack of freedom of speech, economic issues as food price inflation, high unemployment, low wages and the enrichment of the ruling elite were the reasons for the protests. On 11 February 2011 it was announced that Mubarak had stepped down.

Later in June 2012, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi won the first free presidential elections. A new cabinet was formed, which was dominated by technocrats and Islamists and excluded from secular parties. Additionally, President Morsi dismissed the Defence Minister and Chief of Staff and stripped the military of power over any legislation and drafting of the new constitution.

In November 2012 Morsi issued a decree providing him as president with extensive new powers. The decree, condemned by Egypt’s top judges, lead to angry demonstrations. A draft constitution, which boosted the role of Islam in Egypt’s system of government, was approved despite the boycott by liberal, left-wing and Christian members of the constituent assembly. The division about the constitution and government continued and escalated in 2013, with the removal of Morsi as a climax.

Pre-revolution era

While Egypt has long been a presidential republic, with presidential elections every six years, the pre-uprising political situation can best be described as a dictatorship. Hosni Mubarak, who took over from the assassinated Anwar Sadat in 1981, was serving his fifth term as president when he was ousted in 2011. Mubarak derived much of his ‘legitimacy’ by keeping the Islamist forces away from power, he also had close ties with the military which has a strong position in Egypt, until the military leaders turned against him during the 2011 revolution. In the 2005 presidential elections Mubarak was re-elected with 88.6%. The lack of fair elections and lack of change had turned many Egyptians away from politics in this period, turnouts rarely exceeded 15%, even though official figures were reported as much higher. Mubarak was also the leader of the National Democratic Party which dominated the parliament, with 420 out of 518 seats since the 2010 parliamentary elections, while the popular Muslim Brotherhood gained only 1 out of 88 seats reserved for independent candidates. The lack of real influence on political life, by fair and free elections, was one of the major motives for the protests in early 2011.

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Presidential Elections 2012
The 23rd of May marked what is commonly seen as a historic moment in Egypt, with the first free and democratic presidential elections. The first round in which 12 candidates competed against each other was held on the 23rd and 24th of May and took place in an orderly fashion, except for the assault on candidate Ahmed Shafiq after he casted his vote. Moreover, the process of the elections has been well received by both Egyptians as the international community. The voter turnout was 46.42%. For many it was their first time to vote in an election. While former President Mubarak used to get over 80% of votes, in this election the polls were unable to predict a winner.

On 28 May it was announced that Mohamed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq won most votes, although not enough to determine a definite winner. The following three best candidates were Nasserist and left-wing candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, who by the revolutionaries was viewed as ‘one of us’ and has long been a strong opposition figure against Mubarak, also participated in founding the anti-Mubarak Kifaya (Enough) movement. Former Brotherhood candidate Abdel Fotouh came in fourth as the moderate Islamist candidate who was seen as able to bridge the gap between supporters of secularism and the Islamists, but was therefore also criticized of having too many different faces. Amr Moussa, who served as Foreign Affairs Minister under Mubarak and was the former President of the Arab League was the last candidate to receive more than 10% of the vote. He was seen as a liberal and as less affiliated with the Mubarak regime than Shafiq. The results of the first round are presented in the table below.

Candidate Number of votes Percentage
Mohamed Morsi 5,764,952 24.7%
Ahmed Shafiq 5,505,327 23.6%
Hamdeen Sabahi 4,820,273 20.7%
Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh 4,065,239 17.4%
Amr Moussa 2,588,850 11.1%
Mohamed Selim al-Awa 235,374 1.0%
Khalid Ali 134,056 0.5%
Abu al-Ezz al-Hariri 40,090 0.01%
Hesham al-Bastawisi 29,189 0.01%
Mahmoud Hossam 23,992 0.01%
Mohamed Fawzi Eissa 23,889 0.01%
Hossam al-Din Kemal Kheirallah 22,036 0.01%
Abdullah al-Ashal 12,249 0.005%

Because no candidate received a majority of the votes cast, a runoff between Mohamed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq took place on 16 and 17 June. The latter encountered a lot of opposition, being criticized as a remnant of the Mubarak regime - having been Prime Minister between 29 January and 3 March 2011, while others see him as the person who was most likely to bring stability. Consequently, the period between the two election rounds was marked by polarisation, tumult and repeated protests, not in the least because of decisions of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). One of the decisions comprised the dissolution of the newly elected parliament, since elections were found invalid. Shafiq was allowed to partake in the run-off because SCAF found a parliamentary law which would bar affiliates of the old regime invalid. Furthermore, the SCAF has demonstrated that it will seek to control the process on writing a new constitution by giving itself and the courts veto power over any article that they disapprove of.

The second election round proceeded less organised than the first round, as the two presidential campaigns exchanging accusations of electoral fraud. Furthermore, illegal campaigning in front of polling stations, vote-buying, influencing voters to choose certain candidates and arranging votes for military and police personnel were reported. Meanwhile, a handful of activists from the April 6 Youth Movement was arrested while campaigning against Shafiq. However, large proportions of the electorate felt reluctant to vote for either one of the candidates, who in their eyes did not represent the revolutionary ideals. Eventually the total voter turnout came down to 51,6%.

The day after the elections the Muslim Brotherhood immediately declared their candidate, Mohamed Morsi, the winner of the run-off. In reaction, Ahmed Shafiq did the same. But it took a week to find out who the real winner was, although it is suggested that this time was taken by the SCAF to consider whether they would dare to pronounce Shafiq the winner. Eventually it was announced on 24 June, that Morsi won with 51,7% of the vote, representing around a quarter of the Egyptian population. While Islamists and the so-called revolutionary youth celebrated this outcome, many other Egyptians are worried about the future. Among them are Copts and many women. On 30 June Morsi will assume presidency, at the expense of military rule. However, seen the unfinished constitution, it is still unclear what power the president will have.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said in a statement that he "respects the outcome" of the election, and "expects to continue co-operation with the Egyptian administration". The White House also congratulated Mursi, and urged him to "advance national unity by reaching out to all parties and constituencies".

People’s Assembly elections 2011-2012
The elections for the new PA took place in multiple stages. On 28 November, 14 December 2011 and 3 January 2012 the Egyptians cast their ballot for the lower house elections. On each ballot, voters had to vote for a national party list and a local candidate in a first-past-the-post-system. Two-thirds of the 498 elected seats were filled based on the party lists and a proportional system, and the last one-third through the local candidates. An additional 10 politicians were chosen by the military chief.

On 29 and 30 January, Egyptians held the first round for the Shura Council, the upper house, in elections that will be staggered in two stages. The second round took place on 14 and 15 February, with run-offs on 22 February. The PA and the Shura will then appoint a 100-member council that will draft a constitution; a constitutional referendum will be held and eventually elections for a new president will take place.

First round
Turnout for the elections on 28 November was 59,1%, until then the highest ever in Egypt. The left-wing Egyptian Bloc Alliance, which has campaigned as the secular - or as it states in its official propaganda “civic” - alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, has secured 13.4% of the votes for the party lists.

The Freedom and Justice Party was the big winner of this round, securing almost 37% of the votes. In addition, the party did well in the run-offs, winning 31 of the 44 seats that were available. Second came the Salafist Nour Party. It managed to secure one fourth of the votes in the first round. The party strives for the installation of a stringent version of the Sharia law, and has announced that most of its more radical positions (such as a ban on alcohol and the position of females) are not up for negotiations. This line might put the party in an isolated position.

Party Votes for the party list % of the votes Candidates that won a seat through the first-past-the-post-system
Freedom and Justice Party 3,565,092 36.3% 33
Nour Party 2,371,713 24.4% 4
Egyptian Bloc Alliance* 1,299,819 13.4% 2
Wafd Party 690,077 7.1% 1
Minor left-wing parties      
Revolution Continues Alliance** 335,947 3.5% 2
Freedom Party 136,784 1.4% 0
Other parties/candidates 1,335,081 13.9% 6
Total valid votes 9,734,513 100%  
* The Egyptian Social Democratic Party is a leading member of the Egyptian bloc Alliance. The Nationalist Progressive Unionist Party (commonly referred to as “Al-Tagmmu”) is a minor partner in the alliance.
** The Revolution Continues Alliance is a splinter from the Egyptian Bloc Alliance that includes the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and the Egyptian Socialist Party.

Second round
On 14 and 15 December 2011 the second round of the elections for the People Assembly took place, with run-offs on 21 and 22 December In this round, voting took place in districts around the Nile Delta, traditionally a stronghold of political Islam. Observers noted many breaches of the election law, which stipulates that campaigning is prohibited in- and directly outside of polling stations. The Freedom and Justice Party handed out leaflets explaining how to vote for them to voters entering polling stations. In two voting districts, re-runs were held as a result of violations of the election law. However, the minor manipulations did not effect the final outcome of the polls after three stages.

The voter turnout was 64%, exceeding that of the first stage. The results were similar. The FJP won 49% of the votes, the Al Nour Party 28%. The Egyptian Bloc obtained only 5% of the votes, the Revolution Continues just 1%.

Third round
On 3 and 4 January 2012 the remaining voters cast their ballots in the final stage of the parliamentary polls, with run-offs on 10 and 11 January. Over 35% of the votes were won by the FJP, again winning the election round. The conservative Salafist Nour Party won 27,5%. The liberal Egyptian Bloc Alliance obtained 5.2 percent of the votes. The Revolution Continues Alliance won only 2 percent of the votes.

Final results
The final results of the election for the People’s Assembly (PA) were revealed on 22 January 2012. The Islamists performed extremely well in the lower house polls, obtaining over two-third of the votes. The social democratic parties, like other non-religious parties, won only a few seats. The Egyptian Bloc Alliance received 6,7 % of the votes, of which the Egyptian Social Democratic Party is part of. The Revolution Continues Bloc garnered only 7 seats, an alliance comprising among others the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and the Egyptian Socialist Party. The head of the military council chose 10 politicians directly. Among these were 5 Coptic Christians and 3 women, who are the only women in the parliament. In total, over 27,000,000 people voted.

 Party                               Percentage                  Seats in PA        
Democratic Alliance
(incl. Freedom and Justice Party)
 46,3%  235
Islamist Alliance
(incl. Al-Nour Party)
 24,4%  124
 Al-Wafd  7,5%  38
Egyptian Bloc
(incl. ESDP*)
 6,7%  34
Independents  5,1%  26
Felool parties  3,1%  16
Al-Wasat  2%  10
Reform and Development Bloc  1,6%  8
The Revolution Continues
(incl. SPAP and ESP*)
 1,4%  7
Total of elections  98%  498
Appointed by SCAF  2%  10
Total in Peoples Assembly  100%  508
* ESDP = Egyptian Social Democratic Party
SPAP = Socialist Popular Alliance Party
ESP = Egyptian Socialist Party

The final voter turnout was 54%.
For a clear overview of all parties and where they stand in the political landscape, click here.

Constitutional referendum 2014
On January 14 and 15, Egyptians voted for the first time since the ouster of President Morsi in a two-day referendum on a new constitution. The new charter replaces the constitution passed under Morsi months before he was overthrown. The new constitution was drafted by a 50-member committee that included only two representatives of Islamist parties. The Muslim Brotherhood, however, was not represented. An Islamist coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood called for a boycott and “civilized peaceful protests” during the two-day referendum. Many of Egypt’s secular opposition joined the protests against the government and the new charter. Nine people were killed on the first day of voting in clashes between security forces and those who opposed the new constitutional amendments. The Interior Ministry said 444 people were arrested during the two-day vote.

On January 18, the Supreme Electoral Committee announced that 98.1 percent of Egyptians voting in the referendum approved the amended national charter, with a turnout rate of 38.6 percent.

The new constitution will boost military powers, allowing the army to appoint a defense minister for the next eight years. It also allows civilians to be tried before military courts. It also stipulates that the military's budget will be beyond civilian oversight. Critics said the new constitution will strengthen state institutions that defied Morsi: the military, the police and the judiciary at the expense of the people.

The authorities maintained that the new draft delivers more rights and freedoms, and is a crucial step on the road to stability. According to its supporters, the new constitution expands women’s rights and freedom of speech, going a long way from the Islamist-inspired wording of Morsi’s constitution, which was suspended following his overthrow. They say the new constitution will bring stability to Egypt after three years of turmoil.

The opposition accused Egypt's mostly pro-military media of falsifying reports on the turnout. "They are trying to cover-up their early defeat," said a statement from the Brotherhood-led Anti-Coup and Pro-Democracy Alliance, claiming the turnout was a mere 15 percent in southern Egypt. The referendum's integrity has also been challenged by other opposition members and rights campaigners, who say the poll was conducted against a backdrop of fear.

US-based Democracy International (DI), the largest international organization who monitored the referendum, criticized both the political climate of the referendum and the actual undertaking of the vote. DI monitors expressed “serious concerns” about the political climate, which virtually guaranteed a Yes vote. “There was no real opportunity for those opposed to the government’s roadmap or the proposed constitution to dissent,” the statement noted, citing “a backdrop of arrests and detention of dissenting voices”.

Constitutional referendum 2011
Around one month after the revolution in February, on 19 March 2011, Egyptian voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum on constitutional changes that will usher in elections.
The changes included a restriction of the presidential terms from six years to four years and a limitation of two terms for the president. There would also be less restrictions for the nomination of a presidential candidate, and judicial supervision of the entire election process. The highest court would get the authority to arbitrate disputed election results and there would be restrictions on when the President can declare a state of emergency.

Under former President Hosni Mubarak, elections were state-managed affairs with pre-determined results and low turnouts. However, on the day of the referendum, more than 14 million voters, around 77%, approved the constitutional amendments. 4 million, around 23%, voted against them. According to the Egyptian government, the turnout of 41% among the 45 million eligible voters broke all records for recent elections.

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Brief history

During the period between 1922, when Egypt formally gained its independence from the British mandatory power, and the revolution of 1952, Egypt experienced an era of relative political openness in which a certain measure of party pluralism was developed. The most famous party in this period was the Wafd party, which was founded in 1918 as an Egyptian delegation that pleaded for complete Egyptian independence from the British. In January 1953, all political parties were disbanded and a one-party system was officially adopted. The ruling party would be called the Liberation Group (1953-1956), the National Union (1956-1962) and the Arab Socialist Union (1962-1976), respectively.

In 1976, former Egyptian President Sadat called for the Arab Socialist Union to be split in three parts. The left wing was to be called the National Progressive Unionist Organisation (later the Tagammu), the central wing would be the Egypt Arab Socialist Organisation (later the NDP), and the right wing would be known as the Liberal Socialist Organisation (now al-Ahrar, the Liberal Party). In 1977, a new law stated that parties should not be formed on ethnic, racial, geographical or discriminatory bases due to sex, origin, religion or creed. Two parties that did obtain legal status were the Wafd Party (now known as New Wafd) and the Socialist Labour Party. One more party , the Nation Party, was legalised in the 1980s, while the last 20 years have seen the creation of around 14 new parties, bringing the total at the end of Mubarak’s rule to around 20. This system has allowed presidents Sadat and Mubarak to claim that Egypt enjoyed political pluralism and even democracy, while at the same time it manipulated the system to ensure continued supremacy of the NDP. All the other parties were relegated to a role in the very margins of Egyptian politics by the state’s (i.e. NDP) playing them off against each other, harassing them, or freezing them as the situation warrants.

As a result of this history, many of the parties in Egypt were not real political parties in the Western sense of political movements developed by certain segments of society with a particular ideology or programme. After the fall of Muburak, many parties that more closely resemble this western model were established. Also, many former non-active parties came back to the political scene with renewed vigour. In total, over 50 parties and more than 6000 independent candidates have been participating in the elections, many of them formed alliances - that are often, but not always, based on ideology - in order to cut campaign budgets and optimize electoral gains. After the elections for the upper house, the post-revolutionary political landscape will take shape and the most important parties are described below.

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Egyptian Social Democratic Party
Party Leader: Mohammed Abou El-Ghar
Seats: 16

The Egyptian Social Democratic Party was founded shortly after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak by the merger of two minor parties, the Egyptian Democratic Party and the Liberal Egyptian Party. The party straddles a fine line between free enterprise and social justice. It advocates a civil state based on citizenship and social and economic rights are important issues. It was the largest member of the Egyptian Bloc Alliance in the 2011/2012 parliamentary elections, which positions itself as a secular, left-wing alternative to the Islamist parties.

Tagammu Party
Party leader: Mohamed Rifat Al-Saeed
Seats: 3

The Tagammu’ Party, or the Nationalist Progressive Unionist Party, was created in 1976 out of the left wing of the Arab Socialist Union. It is a leftist party which calls for the establishment of a socialist society free of exploitation. It believes in a class struggle that should be resolved peacefully and bases its programme upon the goals of the 1952 revolution. The most important goals are rejecting religious extremism; building the character of the Egyptian citizens; ending the state monopoly over the media; raising awareness of environmental issues and developing Egyptian industries. While the party once enjoyed strong support from the working class, professional unions, universities, and intellectuals, its influence among these groups has since waned. It is a minor partner in the Egyptian Bloc Alliance, that competed in the 2011/2012 elections.

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Freedom and Justice Party
Party leader: Mohammed Morsi
Seats: 213 (the Democratic Alliance of which the party is member obtained 235 seats)

On 30 April 2011 Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) officially announced the formation of the Freedom and Justice Party to contest up to half the seats in the parliamentary elections and to become a major force in the country’s post-revolution politics. The party succeeded in its goals, gaining nearly half of the seats in the lower house in the 2011/2012 elections. It was the largest member of the Democratic Alliance.

Mohammed Hussein, the Brotherhood’s secretary general, said at a press conference that the party will be independent from the MB, but will “coordinate with it.” Mohammed Morsi described the platform of the Freedom and Justice party as civil, but with an Islamic background that adheres to the constitution and democratic principles. “It is not an Islamist party in the old understanding, it is not theocratic.” He indented to allay fears that the Freedom and Justice Party would be dominated by religious ideology and Islamic conservatism. Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood also declared that it does not object to the election of women or Copts in cabinet, but it said that both are unsuitable for presidency. The group supports free-market capitalism, and the party’s political program includes tourism as a main source of national income.

The Muslim Brotherhood struggled for more than eight decades to form a legitimate political party. Under the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood was barred from politics and mentioned as a terrorist organization that threatened the country’s democracy. In 2005, the MB became the largest group in the opposition bloc by its independent candidates winning 20% of the parliamentary seats. However, in 2010 the group did not win more than one seat in the November election that was regarded as rigged in favour of Mubarak’s ruling party NDP.

Al-Nour Party
Party Leader: Emad Abdel Ghaffour
Seats: 111 (the Islamist Alliance of which the party is member obtained 124 seats)

Al-Nour is a Salafi political party founded after the January 2011 uprising. Salafism is an orthodox branch of Islam which sees the first generations of the followers of the prophet Muhammad as examples for how all aspects of life should be organized. The party advocates gradual reform under the slogan: “The only reform we desire is the reform we can achieve.” This slogan is based on a view of the principles of Islam as a comprehensive framework for religion and state.

The Al-Wafd
Party leader: Sayyid al-Badawi
Seats: 38

The Al-Wafd, created in 1978, is essentially a continuation of the pre-1952 Wafd Party. It is a liberal capitalist party that calls for public freedoms and a maximum reduction of the economic role of the state. It encourages Arab and foreign investment, the liberalisation of foreign trade and the exchange rates, privatisation of certain parts of the public sector. Most of the Wafd economic ideas had been taken over by the former NDP. On the issue of political freedom and democratic reform, however, the Wafd is much more liberal than the NDP used to be. Although the party has lost influence over the last 20 years, the Al-Wafd is often regarded as a strong opposition party. This is due to the legitimacy of the old Wafd, the possession of greater financial resources than other parties, and the several offices throughout the country. The Al-Wafd is attempting to portray itself as an alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The dissolved National Democratic Party
Former party leader: Hosni Mubarak

The National Democratic Party was officially founded in 1978 as a continuation of the central part of the Arab Socialist Union. According to its program the party was committed to the ideals of the 1952 revolution. Apart from ending the monarchy and British dominance, these ideals were the implementation of agrarian reform, nationalization of key industries, a one-party state, and closer ties with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It is clear that the NDP’s proclaimed continuing loyalty to these ideals existed on paper only. The NDP was officially committed to political freedom, social justice, and implementing democracy. However, the party was ideologically extremely weak. It lacked further ideological direction which could define it as either left or right, and it did not even live up to its own rhetoric. It was, thus, more a framework of regime domination than a traditional political party.

On April 16 2011, Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court officially relegated the once-supreme National Democratic Party to history, ruling that the party would be dissolved and its assets seized by the government.

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Interim cabinet

mansour1.jpgAdly Mansour
Interim president

Adly Mansour was born on December 23, 1945 in Cairo. He earned a postgraduate degree in law and also in management science. In 1992 Mansour was appointed as deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court and served for a long time under former President Hosni Mubarak. He helped draft the supervision law for the presidential elections that brought Morsi to power in 2012 and became president of the Supreme Court under Morsi’s presidency. On July 3rd Mansour was appointed interim President of Egypt by Minister of Defense General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, following the ousting of Morsi. As President Mansour restored the position of the vice-president and nominated Mohammed el-Baradei to this post and appointed Hazem el-Beblawi as prime minister. One of Mansour’s main roles is to amend the under Morsi Islamist-drafted constitution and issue constitutional declarations until parliamentary elections are held.

el_beblawii.jpgHazem el-Beblawi
Interim prime minister

Hazem el-Beblawi was born on October 17, 1936, in Cairo and studied economy and law in Egypt and France. He taught at academic institutions and headed the Export Development Bank of Egypt from 1983 to 1995. He also served as United Nations undersecretary-general from 1995 to 2000. After the 2011 revolution, which Beblawi supported, he became a founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and was appointed to the government as minister of finance. However, he resigned from this post in October 2011 over the government’s handling of Christian Coptic protests in which dozens were killed by security forces. Following the ousting of Morsi, Beblawi was appointed as interim prime minister on July 9th, 2013 and subsequently suspended his membership in the Social Democratic Party. He is known for his liberal views on the economy and supports a free market system in Egypt. On August 17th Beblawi proposed the legal dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood.

al_sisi.jpgGeneral Abdul Fatah al-Sisi
Head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, minister of defence

Abdul Fatah al-Sisi was born on November 19, 1954 in Cairo. He graduated from the Egyptian military academy in 1977 and continued training in the United Kingdom, Egypt and the United States. Under Mubarak’s regime Al-Sisi served as a military attaché in Saudi Arabia. In August 2012 Al-Sisi was appointed as Head of the Egyptian Armed Forces and as Minister of Defence by Morsi. Despite some accusations of being too close to the Muslim Brotherhood he presented himself and the army as “guardians of the people’s will”, following nationwide protests in June 2013. He played a leading role in the military coup of July 2013, which ousted Morsi when he did not meet to the army’s ultimatum to the government and its opponents to resolve the country’s crisis within 48 hours. Al-Sisi remained on his post as Defence Minister in the interim government.
abul_ghar.jpgMohamed Abul-Ghar
Leader of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party

Mohamed Abul-Ghar was born on July 2, 1940 in Shibin El Kom in Egypt. He received his doctoral degree, specialized in obstetrics and gynaecology, in 1969 after he studied medicine at the Cairo University. He became a gynaecology professor and established Egypt’s first specialized medical centre for assisted fertility in 1986. Abul-Ghar became actively involved in politics during the rule of Mubarak and founded along with other university professors the ‘March 9 Movement for the Independence of Universities’ against the security control on Egyptian universities, in which he is currently still active. Abul-Ghar was directly involved in the anti-regime opposition before the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 as coordinator and spokesperson for the National Association for Change (NAC) led by Mohame El-Baradei. After the 2011 revolution Abul-Ghar founded along with some other Egyptian political activists the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) and became its leader.
mohamed_morsi.jpgMohamed Morsi
Former president

Mohamed Morsi was born on August 20, 1951 in Sharqiya, located in Northern Egypt. He studied engineering at the Cairo University and later in California, after when he began working as an assistant professor at the California State University. In 1977 Morsi became a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which played a major role in the Egyptian nationalist movement. The Brotherhood was forbidden to nominate candidates for office according to policies implemented by former President Hosni Mubarak, therefore Morsi served as an independent when he was a Member of Parliament from 2000 to 2005. He was arrested several times under Mubarak’s regime for various protests, together with other Brotherhood leaders. Morsi later served as a member of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau and in 2011 he founded the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), for which he served as president.

In 2012 Morsi became the first democratically elected president in Egypt’s history, the first Islamist to lead an Arab country, and Egypt’s first leader from outside the military. In his victory speech on June 24 2012, the 60-year old Morsi urged Egyptians “to strengthen our national unity” and promised to be a president for all Egyptians. Therefore he gave up his Brotherhood membership. However, as president, Morsi granted himself unlimited powers for ‘protection’ of the nation from the Mubarak-era power structure. He also declared his orders were beyond the scrutiny of the country’s judges until Egypt had a new constitution, which was nullified after protests. Morsi’s actions, along with the economic decline it caused, sparked much outrage including public protests throughout the country. By the end of June 2013, mass protests erupted across Egypt calling for Morsi’s resignation, followed by an army ultimatum requiring the president to share power or to step down. On July 3, 2013 Morsi was officially ousted as president by Egypt’s armed forces and placed under house arrest. Morsi has been prosecuted for inciting deadly violence. Currently his trial is pending.
hosni_mubarak_ritratto.jpgHosni Mubarak
Former president

The 82-year-old former President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, ruled Egypt for almost three decades. Mubarak was born in 1928 in a village near Cairo. Under Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat, Mubarak was Deputy Minister of War from 1972 to 1975. In 1975, he became Vice-President and after Sadat was assassinated, on October 6, 1981, Mubarak became President.

Hosni Mubarak ruled as a quasi-military leader when he took power, and kept the country under emergency law. He won three elections unopposed since 1981, but for his fourth contest in 2005 - after a firm push from the US and other countries- he changed the system to allow rival candidates. However, Mubarak was often accused of suppressing opposition groups and holding unfair elections. In 1995, he escaped an assassination attempt at an
African unity summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Abeba.

In 2011, after 18 days of massive protests and demonstrations against the government, Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February. After his resignation, he and his family fled to a villa at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. He was arrested on 13 April 2011. The trial is probably ending in mid-February. Prosecutors have demanded the death penalty.
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Flag of Egypt Egypt

Last update: 28 January 2014
Author: -

Population: 85,294,388 (July 2013 est.)
Prime Minister: Hazem el-Beblawi (interim)
President: Adly Mansour (interim)
Governmental type: Republic
Ruling Coalition: -
Last Elections: Presidential (first round held on 23-24 May 2012; runoff held on 16-17 June 2012)
Next Election: -
Sister Parties: Egyptian Social Democratic Party (consultative member)

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Sources Sources

AhramOnline, Voter turnout surges in final hours of Egypt presidential runoff

Alarabiya, Mursi will face Shafiq in presidential run-off

Alarabiya, Egypts open presidential race polarizes nation

Al Jazeera, "Egypt's new assembly appoints speaker", available at (14 February 2012)

Al Jazeera Senter for studies, "Reports: Egypt's Legislations: Islamists Win the Majority in the Second Round" (5 January 2012), available at (14 February 2012)

Al Jazeera, "Egypt's Brotherhood claims early lead."

Arabist, "People’s Assembly Elections Partial Results (First and Second Round)" (available at (14 February 2012)

Mansour, El-Beblawi, Al-Sisi, Abul-Ghar, Morsi, Mubarak

Carnegie endowment, "Egypt's Transition", available at

CIA World Factbook, available at

Egyptian Association for the Support of Democratic Development: Press Releases November 9 – December 7 2005

El-Ghobashy, M.: “The Metamorphosis of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers”, in International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 37 (2005) pp. 373-395

Human Rights Watch: “Egypt: Ayman Nur Trial Badly Flawed”, New York: December 7 2005

Independent Committee on Election Monitoring: Press Statements / Preliminary Reports November 9 – December 7 2005

International Crisis Group: Reforming Egypt: In Search of a Strategy, Middle East / North Africa Report no. 46, 4 October 2005‏

International Crisis Group: The Challenge of Political reform, Midlle East briefing, Cairo / Brussels, 30 September 2003

International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance / Arab NGO Network for Development: Building Democracy in Egypt, Stockholm 2005

Sada journal, "What the Brotherhood lost", available at

Sullivan, D. : Egypt, in: Countries at the Crossroads 2005: A Survey of Democratic Governance (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), p. 213, available at

The Guardian, "Egyptian elections: the parties and where they stand - interactive", available at (14 February 2012)

The New York Times, Amid Uncertainties on Role, Egypt’s President-Elect Begins Rituals of Office

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