Egypt elections: a choice between Islamic dictatorship and military authoritarianism
For the next and final round of presidential elections, Egyptians are being asked to choose between an Islamic or military dictatorship both claiming legitimacy through the ballot box.
Egypt may be following one set of democratic procedures, but it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a transition to democracy, irrespective of who becomes the next President. Elections are only one element of democracy, and to reduce democratic practice to what happens at the polling station is highly problematic. We need to ask ourselves what the conditions are that have influenced people's choices? And to what extent did these restrictive conditions influence their choices? Have they been offered money or in-kind goods for their vote? Have they been given misinformation that amounts to deception about the different candidates? To what extent are people being mobilized along religious lines? Are you on God's side or not?
In a recent article in African Arguments, IDS Fellow Mariz Tadros asks: how did Egypt end up with such a polarized scenario, caught between an old decadent rock and a very hard place? What went wrong?
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