Egyptian Parliamentary Elections Postponed

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Egyptian Parliamentary Elections Postponed

Megan Buskey

The delay is seen as a concession to protestors.

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The Middle East News Agency (MENA), the press organ of the Egyptian government, announced earlier this week that parliamentary elections will be pushed back at least one month, from September to October or November 2011. (MENA didn’t offer up any news about the timing of presidential elections, which are still scheduled for November.) What effect, if any, will this have on the fledgling democracy?  In the Summer issue of The Wilson Quarterly, political scientist Donald L. Horowitz looks under the hoods of Tunisia and Egypt’s new governments [“Writing the New Rules of the Game”], and warns that the short timetable for elections in Egypt would be a boon for the old guard, which includes the Muslim Brotherhood and the Hosni-Mubarak-friendly political forces. While the later election day doesn’t give new democratically-oriented parties much more breathing room, it could still help them become more organized and visible before the elections. The stakes couldn’t be higher, Horowitz points out: The more seats these parties capture, the more representation they’re likely to have in the parliamentary committee that will draft Egypt’s new constitution. Furthermore, there’s reason to think that this postponement will not be the last. As with home renovations and web site launches, elections in young democracies have a way of being pushed back again and again.

Photo: Egyptians vote on democratic reforms in March 2011 by Ahmed Abd El-fatah via flickr