Chronology: Egypt

The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2005 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Egypt


See also Regional Affairs, Iraq

Apr. 20: Archaeologists found the largest funerary complex yet, dating from the earliest era of ancient Egypt, more than 5,000 years ago. A joint Egyptian-US team in the Kom al-Ahmar region, south of Cairo, discovered the necropolis. The site contains some of the earliest examples of mummification found in Egypt. [BBC, 4/21]

Apr. 27: Egyptian police arrested 75 people in connection with pro-democracy demonstrations held across the country, which were organized by the group Kifaya, a coalition of activists. All but two of the activists were later released. The demonstrations, which were held in 15 cities, called for an end to President Husni Mubarak's presidency and the lifting of emergency laws imposed under his rule in 1981. [BBC, 4/27]

May 5: Egyptian security forces detained at least 400 members of the Muslim Brotherhood after nation-wide anti-government protests. Pro-reform activists, including leftists, nationalists, and Islamists, had stepped up efforts geared towards constitutional and political reforms in the country. [BBC, 5/5]

May 6: Four leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested by Egyptian security forces in conjunction with protests held less then two days earlier, including one of its most prominent members, Essam al-Erian. The Brotherhood had stepped up calls for reform in response to its continued exclusion from elections, despite President Husni Mubarak's February agreement to allow rival candidates to contest the presidency. [BBC, 5/6]

May 10: The People's Assembly, Egypt's lower house of Parliament, approved a constitutional amendment that would allow presidential elections to be contested for the first time. The Shura Council, Egypt's upper house of Parliament, passed the amendment several days earlier. The new law would allow opposition parties to nominate candidates, but imposes tough conditions. Independent candidates would have to receive the backing of at least 65 members of Parliament to be eligible, and since the ruling National Democratic Party has a majority in Parliament, opposition candidates would depend on the ruling party to back their candidacy. Candidates would also be required to collect the signatures of at least 300 elected officials from the People's Assembly, the Shura Council, and local councils in order to run. [BBC, 5/10]

May 14: In an unprecedented show of defiance, Egyptian judges declared they would not oversee the presidential elections scheduled for September unless the government passed new legislation guaranteeing their independence. The more than 2,000 judges made their demands at a meeting of the Judge's Syndicate, an elected body of the Egyptian judiciary, in Cairo. [BBC, 5/14]

May 18: Egyptian police arrested 56 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who were behind a series of protests against President Husni Mubarak and his "failure to engage in true democratic reforms." The arrests brought the number of Muslim Brotherhood members detained since the beginning of May to approximately 550. [MEO, 5/18]

May 25: Egyptians voted in a referendum on changes to the Egyptian constitution that would allow presidential elections with more than a single candidate. Opposition parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Kifaya, had urged a boycott, saying the proposed changes contained restrictions to ensure that the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) retained power. …

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