Reforms, Freedom in Egypt; Time for a Change in Leadership

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 4, 2004 | Go to article overview

Reforms, Freedom in Egypt; Time for a Change in Leadership


Byline: Nir Boms and Michael Meunier, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Egypt has gone through 26 years of single-party rule, during which unemployment has risen to 25 percent. Regime opponents have been jailed, and many promises of political reform have been consistently ignored. Nearly everyone - the United States, Egyptian opposition, even the ruling party of President Hosni Mubarak - agrees that it is time for a change in the Arab world's largest country.

And it is not coincidental that Mr. Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP), which convened earlier this month under the banner of "New Thought and Reform Priorities," was quick to embrace the rhetoric of reform. "One-party rule is over,'' the president's son, Gamal, grandly announced to reporters, and President Mubarak himself promised in his closing speech to "spread the culture of democracy." Reforms that are reportedly under consideration include proportional representation for elections, ending criminal sanctions for violations of the press law and giving full legislative powers to the Shura Council, the advisory upper house of Parliament.

The rhetoric of the conference reflected the language of recent Arab reform initiatives such as the Alexandria and Doha Declarations - important manifestos dealing with the issues of freedom, democracy and political reforms. Likewise, the NDP produced a "Rights of Citizenship and Democratization" platform of its own, offering some promising suggestions on political reform, including commitments to human rights and the rule of law, and aspirations to promote wider participation in political life by giving greater responsibility and autonomy to civil-society organizations.

Rhetoric was cheap at the NDP conference that avoided addressing the issues that were critical to Egypt's democrats, among them a constitutional amendment that will prevent President Mubarak from taking a fifth five-year term in 12 months' time, the removal of article II of the constitution that effectively Islamized Egypt, and the demand for an end to the emergency laws that allow for indefinite detentions without trial (the laws were enacted in 1981, following Anwar Sadat's assassination). Paradoxically, the NDP Rights of Citizenship and Democratization document even promoted new restrictions on democracy, such as a requirement that parties regularly inform the authorities of their funding sources.

And despite the new asserted political opening, these new reforms appear to actually restrain the political dialogue and engenders cynicism among some Egyptian democrats. "The political system has ossified,'' says Mona Makram-Ebeid, a former member of parliament, a delegate of the Alexandria Conference for Reform and the secretary-general of the Hizbat al Ghad Party (the Party of tomorrow). Ghad is a new liberal political party that subscribes itself to the brief period of secular liberalism Egypt enjoyed under the Wafd Party, before the era of Nasserism and Pan-Arabism. Ghad, due to its liberal agenda, was denied political status and will not be allowed to actively participate in new "post one party" era ... And Makram-Ebeid is not alone. Earlier this month the government's Political Affairs Committee refused to allow the establishment of two other new parties. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reforms, Freedom in Egypt; Time for a Change in Leadership
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.