Egypt presidential election 2012: the survival of the July 1952 regime

On 23 and 24 May 2012, Egyptians went to the polls to choose their president in Egypt’s first free and fair presidential elections.  This paper analyzes the presidential elections, with its two rounds, and its impact on Egypt’s transition from authoritarianism.

Since Mubarak was brought down by the 25 January “revolution” on 11th February 2011, the name of the new president has captured the attention of all Egyptians over the past 18 months. Throughout 3 decades of Mubarak’s rule, and 6 decades since the establishment of the republican regime, the president was always a key, if not the only player in Egyptian politics. On 23 and 24 of May 2012, Egyptians went out for the first time in their history to choose their ruler in Egypt’s first free and fair elections. While 13 candidates from different political backgrounds competed for the post in the first round, the results brought Mohammad Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim brotherhood, and Ahmad Shafik, the former prime minster of Mubarak, to the run-off. Despite the fierce competition between the two candidates, and the attempt to frame it within the struggle between the 25 January “revolution” and the old regime, this paper argues that both candidates represent a reproduction of the dualism of the 1952 regime: a military figure in civilian clothes versus the Muslim brotherhood, and it shows that the 25 January “revolution” has failed to change the old rules of the game. In this paper, I will analyze the presidential elections, the reproduction of the 1952 regime dualism, and its impact on Egypt’s transition from authoritarianism.

The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.