Start Date

8-5-2013 2:15 PM

End Date

8-5-2013 3:45 PM

Subjects

Arab Spring, 2010-, Revolutions -- Arab countries -- History -- 21st century, Egypt -- Politics and government -- 21st century, Egypt -- History -- 21st century, Democratization -- Egypt

Description

Is post-revolution Egypt demonstrably different from the ancien régime? Where and between whom is political competition currently taking place? In the aggregative conception, democracy requires the presence of substantive political choice, differentiated through 'robust' competition between intermediaries – most often political parties – that serve to effectively aggregate and articulate political preferences. This produces an observable and genuine link between public preferences and government policies. In Egypt, the lack of a coheren and viable alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) – itself an amalgamation of conflicting and particularistic interests – has deprived the people of any substantive political choice. Further, because the FJP is governing largely via thin electoral victories (in terms of voter turnout) – derived from a high reliance upon clientelistic campaign tactics – democratic linkage is largely absent in Egypt. As a result, the current Egyptian regime is suffering from a 'legitimacy gap' exemplified by increased tensions with the Judiciary, an inability to effectively enact government economic policy, threats of election boycotts by the major secular opposition parties, and violent popular outbreaks reflecting severe discontent and disillusionment. Recent commentary on the Arab Spring has tended to frame the issue in terms of secular/Islamist and economic cleavages. However, an analysis of studies looking at the 2011-12 parliamentary elections, combined with recent public opinion data collected by Benstead, et al. (2013) and the Arab Barometer, shows that the absence of substantive political choice in Egypt is what is actually stalling democratization.

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/9471

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May 8th, 2:15 PM May 8th, 3:45 PM

The Importance of Choice: Political Intermediaries and Democratization in Egypt After the Arab Spring

Is post-revolution Egypt demonstrably different from the ancien régime? Where and between whom is political competition currently taking place? In the aggregative conception, democracy requires the presence of substantive political choice, differentiated through 'robust' competition between intermediaries – most often political parties – that serve to effectively aggregate and articulate political preferences. This produces an observable and genuine link between public preferences and government policies. In Egypt, the lack of a coheren and viable alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) – itself an amalgamation of conflicting and particularistic interests – has deprived the people of any substantive political choice. Further, because the FJP is governing largely via thin electoral victories (in terms of voter turnout) – derived from a high reliance upon clientelistic campaign tactics – democratic linkage is largely absent in Egypt. As a result, the current Egyptian regime is suffering from a 'legitimacy gap' exemplified by increased tensions with the Judiciary, an inability to effectively enact government economic policy, threats of election boycotts by the major secular opposition parties, and violent popular outbreaks reflecting severe discontent and disillusionment. Recent commentary on the Arab Spring has tended to frame the issue in terms of secular/Islamist and economic cleavages. However, an analysis of studies looking at the 2011-12 parliamentary elections, combined with recent public opinion data collected by Benstead, et al. (2013) and the Arab Barometer, shows that the absence of substantive political choice in Egypt is what is actually stalling democratization.