It Just Looks Like a Party



Sadat did not begin with a detailed blueprint for a multiparty system. He arrived there via a domestic power struggle as well as powerful foreign policy pressures. Domestically, what concerned Sadat most was ‘Ali Sabri’s group, the most powerful men of the ASU. Regarding foreign policy pressures, Sadat’s desire to end the Arab-Israeli conflict encouraged him to improve his relationship with the United States— convinced as he was that it held essentially all of the negotiating cards. These pressures forced Sadat into two dramatic changes. First, he adopted infitah (the open door policy); and second, he created a multiparty political system. He sought to consolidate his power, dismantle any challengers, and create his own elite to replace Nasser’s. Like Nasser, Sadat did not want to reform the existing organization—he disbanded and created it anew. The political and economic reforms were engineered to be theatrical, however, and they were nothing more than a functionalistic multiparty system. These functionalist changes were, in fact, Sadat’s “New Deal.”


Foreign Policy Political Reform Opposition Parti Open Door Policy Political Liberalization 
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© Alaa Al-Din Arafat 2009

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