Parliaments and Parties in Egypt

Parliaments and Parties in Egypt

Parliaments and Parties in Egypt

Parliaments and Parties in Egypt

Excerpt

Egypt was the first Arabic-speaking country to throw off the yoke of Turkish rule which, from the time of Muhammad 'Alî onwards, was hardly more than nominal. However, Turkish cultural and social influence did not disappear, but remained distinctly evident amongst the upper classes. On the other hand, European influence was gradually penetrating into Egypt and, to a large extent, supplanting Turkish predominance.

The impact of the West became obvious in the political- constitutional field with the gradual adoption of Western patterns of government and political life. In 1866, Ismaâ'îl Pasha created a consultative elected Assembly of Notables along the lines of Western Parliaments. It took almost sixty years for this Assembly to develop into something like a European Parliament.

The political parties also imitated Western models in their organization, programmes, propaganda, etc. Though outwardly westernized and compact, most of these parties shivered on the first reef. For the sake of understanding the modern history of the Near East, it is a work of first importance to trace the development of parliamentary institutions and political parties in Egypt and to consider the extent of European influence on their inception, evolution and disruption.

Despite this importance, research in this field has been largely neglected. No comprehensive book on the subject has yet been published, and even scholarly investigation of the political and constitutional history of modern Egypt has given only casual mention to parliamentary institutions and political parties. In general, scholars have restricted themselves to the compilation of facts, seldom attempting to examine the subject in its wider aspect and draw definite conclusions. These remarks apply, for instance, to the books written about modern Egypt by Cromer, Colvin, Lloyd, Newman, Douin, Sammarco, Hasenclever, and many others . To the best of my knowledge, the present work is the first attempt, based on both Arabic and European sources, to deal with the subject comprehensively. I consider that . . .

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