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Revolutionary Blind-Spots: The Politics of Electoral System Choice and the Egyptian Transition

Revolutionary Blind-Spots: The Politics of Electoral System Choice and the Egyptian Transition The Egyptian revolution has swept away the Mubarak dynasty, it has begun dismantling an elaborate state security apparatus, and it has enacted constitutional reforms that put the country on the way to a democratic form of government. What have received little attention, however, are the electoral laws that will govern the new democratic order. Like many democratizing countries, Egypt has experienced elections under authoritarianism. Although this provides some advantages, the experience also holds many pitfalls, as the existing electoral system bares the mark of the previous regime, designed with many safeguards to help preserve the power of pre-democratic elites. An electoral system with a great deal of malapportionment, heavily gerrymandered electoral districts, and biased quotas provides the foundation for elections in post-revolutionary Egypt. Though these issues may be a part of normal politics in established democracies, in the context of an emerging democracy they can be a powerful counterrevolutionary force helping to strengthen pre-democratic elites vis-à-vis new democratic challengers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Middle East Law and Governance Brill

Revolutionary Blind-Spots: The Politics of Electoral System Choice and the Egyptian Transition

Middle East Law and Governance , Volume 3 (1-2): 3 – Mar 25, 2011

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright 2011 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1876-3367
eISSN
1876-3375
DOI
10.1163/187633711X591387
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Egyptian revolution has swept away the Mubarak dynasty, it has begun dismantling an elaborate state security apparatus, and it has enacted constitutional reforms that put the country on the way to a democratic form of government. What have received little attention, however, are the electoral laws that will govern the new democratic order. Like many democratizing countries, Egypt has experienced elections under authoritarianism. Although this provides some advantages, the experience also holds many pitfalls, as the existing electoral system bares the mark of the previous regime, designed with many safeguards to help preserve the power of pre-democratic elites. An electoral system with a great deal of malapportionment, heavily gerrymandered electoral districts, and biased quotas provides the foundation for elections in post-revolutionary Egypt. Though these issues may be a part of normal politics in established democracies, in the context of an emerging democracy they can be a powerful counterrevolutionary force helping to strengthen pre-democratic elites vis-à-vis new democratic challengers.

Journal

Middle East Law and GovernanceBrill

Published: Mar 25, 2011

Keywords: Egypt; election law; legal reform; democratic reform

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