The Tipping Starts



The 2005 parliamentary election heralded much less auspicious times for the NDP. Popular movements such as Kifaya were growing and demanding political and constitutional reform while publicly rejecting the hereditary succession of Gamal Mubarak. For the first time in his twenty-four-year tenure, Egyptians publicly debated alternatives to Mubarak and his preselected lists. Furthermore, the election occurred during worsening economic conditions, as poor and middle-class Egyptians began lining up at bakeries and cooperatives to receive bread and other rationed staples. Government figures reported a 32.8 percent increase in the consumer price index from late 1999 to November 2004,1 a very serious problem for the 42 percent of Egyptians who live below the poverty line and the 17 percent who survive on less than $2 per day.2 Even the urban middle class began struggling. On the other hand, election procedures had theoretically improved since the 2000 parliamentary elections. A Higher Commission for Parliamentary Elections (HCPE) exists and is headed by the minister of justice.3 While not independent, the HCPE supposedly supervises the whole process and agreed to allow Egyptian monitors trained and organized by NGOs4 to observe the process inside and outside of polling places,5 making the election a practical test for the commission’s efficiency. Finally, the NDP had an Electoral College to select the party list in each district collectively, rather than central selection by party leaders.


Presidential Election Electoral Campaign Party Leader Political Reform Polling Place 
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© Alaa Al-Din Arafat 2009

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