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Egypt’s Failed Transition

From: Journal of Democracy
Volume 24, Number 4, October 2013
pp. 45-58 | 10.1353/jod.2013.0064



Egypt’s mass uprising of 2011 gave birth to tremendous hopes that a new era of democratic politics could be built in the Arab world. But the process of transition to a democracy was badly designed, providing strong incentives for the country’s diverse political actors to behave in ways that undermined democratic development. Compounding these political mistakes was a heavy authoritarian legacy of division, mistrust, and unaccountability. While elections were not the cause of Egypt’s political woes, voting only clarified and sometimes aggravated the growing fissures in the Egyptian body politic. And those divisions have not only sabotaged Egypt’s post-2011 democratic hopes but also have undermined the prospects for future democratic development.