Egypt: Will Parliamentary Elections Unleash a Conflict of Legitimacies?

The first parliamentary elections in Egypt since the fall of Mubarak began on 28 November 2011. They have ushered the country into a new and pivotal chapter in the transition process. The People’s Assembly and the Shura Council elections will span several months and are due to conclude in March 2012. With the end of the elections and the convening of the new parliament, the political landscape will undergo a major change. One of the most significant aspects of this shift will be and increased complication of the legitimacy game played by the various political actors. The elections automatically generate a new type of legitimacy, one that has been absent since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, namely representative legitimacy. The entry of a legitimacy generated from the ballot boxes, considered the most important source of legitimacy in a democratic regime, would thus reshape the entire political landscape.

This paper analyses the effects of the parliamentary elections on the political landscape and on the balance of power between the various actors. It then addresses the scenarios that may arise from the new situation in terms of the clash or concord between the various legitimacies.

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.