Politics of Egypt

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The politics of Egypt is based on republicanism, with a semi-presidential system of government. Following the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, and the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. The President is elected for two four-year term and the Parliament is unicameral. The President can appoint up to 5% of the total number of seats and can dissolve it and the Parliament can impeach the President. Due to Egypt's long and rich history; it was traditionally ruled by royals until 1952 however the first free elected President was in 2012. The Parliament of Egypt is the oldest legislative chamber in Africa and the Middle East.


Main article: President of Egypt

The President is elected for four-year term that can be renewable once. Candidates must provide 30,000 signatures from at least 15 provinces, or 30 members of a chamber of the legislature, or nomination by a party holding at least one seat in the legislature.[1]

The position was created after Egyptian Revolution of 1952. Mohammed Naguib was the first president. Prior to 2005, the Parliament chooses a candidate for the Presidency and the people vote whether or not they approve that candidate for President in a referendum. In 2005, the first presidential elections held with multiple candidates stand for the positions, however the elections was deemed neither fair nor free. After the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, a new presidential elections held in 2012, it was the first free and fair elections in Egyptian history. The current president is Abdel Fattah el-Sisi elected in the 2014 presidential election.[2]

Since Egypt adopts the semi-presidential system in 2012 the President doesn't hold extensive powers , The President can dissolve the Parliament, declare state of emergency and declare wars but the Parliament must approve any law first. The Parliament can impeach the President after two-thirds votes in favour for impeachment and then a public referendum is held to whether or not approve the impeachment of the President.

Legislative Branch

Parliament meets for one eight-month session each year; under special circumstances the President of the Republic can call an additional session. Even though the powers of the Parliament have increased since the 1980 Amendments of the Constitution, the Parliament continues to lack the powers to balance the extensive powers of the President.

The House of Representatives (Magles en Nowwáb)

The House of Representatives is the principal legislative body. It consists of a maximum 596 representatives with 448 are directly elected through FPTP and another 120 elected through proportional representation in 4 nationwide districts while the President can appoint up to 28 .[3] The House sits for a five-year term but can be dissolved earlier by the President. The Constitution reserves fifty percent of the House may force the resignation of the executive cabinet by voting a motion of censure. For this reason, the Prime Minister and his cabinet are necessarily from the dominant party or coalition in the assembly. In the case of a president and house from opposing parties, this leads to the situation known as cohabitation.

The most recent elections held in 2015.

The Consultative Council (Maglis El-Shura)

The Shura Council was the 264-member upper house of Parliament created in 1980. In the Shura Council 176 members were directly elected and 88 members were appointed by the President of the Republic for six-year terms. One half of the Shura Council was renewed every three years.

The Shura Council's legislative powers were limited. On most matters of legislation, the People’s Assembly retained the last word in the event of a disagreement between the two houses.

The Shura Council was abolished in the 2014 constitution.[4]

Parliamentary elections

Political parties in Egypt are numerous and exceeds 100 parties; The formation of political parties based on religion, race or gender is prohibited by the Constitution. Prior to the revolution in 2011, power was concentrated in the hands of the President of the Republic and the National Democratic Party which retained a super-majority in the People's Assembly.

Many new political parties that mostly were fragile formed in anticipation of running candidates in the Egyptian parliamentary election, 2011–2012 that was considered the first free one since 1952 revolution. However the elected Parliament was dissolved by the constitutional court and a new elections were held in 2015

Below the national level, authority is exercised by and through governors and mayors appointed by the central government and by popularly elected local councils.

Political parties and elections

According to the Egyptian Constitution, political parties are allowed to exist. Religious political parties are not allowed as it would not respect the principle of non-interference of religion in politics and that religion has to remain in the private sphere to respect all beliefs. Also forbidden are political parties supporting militia formations or having an agenda that is contradictory to the constitution and its principles, or threatening the country's stability such as national unity between Muslim Egyptians and Christian Egyptians.

As of 2015, there are more than 100 registered political parties in Egypt. The largest are, Free Egyptians Party, New Wafd Party, Conference Party, and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.

 Summary of the 2015 election for House of Representatives (Egypt)
Party Ideology Votes Vote % FPTP Seats List Seats Total Seats Component Parties
Free Egyptians Party Liberalism, Secularism 57 8 65
Nation's Future Party Populism 43 10 53
New Wafd Party Egyptian nationalism, National Liberalism 27 8 36 1 appointed member
Homeland Defenders Party Populism 10 8 18
Republican People's Party Liberalism, Populism 13 0 13
Conference Party Big tent, Liberalism 8 4 12
Al-Nour Party Islamism, Salafism 11 0 11
Conservative Party Conservative Liberalism 1 5 6
Democratic Peace Party Liberal Democracy, Civic Nationalism 5 0 5
Egyptian Social Democratic Party Social Democracy, Social Liberalism 4 0 4
Egyptian National Movement Party Secularism 4 0 4
Modern Egypt Party Leftism 4 0 4
Freedom Party Big tent, Liberalism 3 0 3
Reform and Development Party Liberalism 3 0 3
My Homeland Egypt Party Populism 3 0 3
Revolutionary Guards Party Nationalism, Liberalism 1 0 1
National Progressive Unionist Party Left-wing Nationalism, Democratic Socialism 1 0 2 1 appointed member
Free Egyptian Building Party Islamism 1 0 1
Nasserist Party Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialism 1 0 1
Independents Independents - - 251 74 351 28 Appointed members
Total elected elected MPs 0 100.00 0 0 0
Appointees non-elected MPs - - - - 0
Total MPs - - - - 0

2014 Egyptian presidential election

Candidate Party Votes %
Abdel Fattah el-SisiIndependent23,780,10496.91
Hamdeen SabahiPopular Current757,5113.09
Invalid/blank votes1,040,608
Registered voters/turnout 47.45
Source: Ahram Online


Civil society

Egyptians lived under emergency law from 1967 until 31 May 2012 (with one 18-month break starting in 1980).[5] Emergency laws have been continuously extended every three years since 1981. These laws sharply circumscribed any non-governmental political activity: street demonstrations, non-approved political organizations, and un-registered financial donations were formally banned. Nonetheless, since 2000, these restrictions have been violated in practice. In 2003, the agenda shifted heavily towards local democratic reforms, opposition to the succession of Gamal Mubarak as president, and rejection of violence by state security forces. Groups involved in the latest wave include PCSPI, the Egyptian Movement for Change (Kefaya), and the Association for Egyptian Mothers.

Substantial peasant activism exists on a variety of issues, especially related to land rights and land reform. A major flash point was the 1997 repeal of Nasser-era land reform policies under pressure for structural adjustment. A pole for this activity is the Land Center for Human Rights.

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011, inspired by the recent revolution in Tunisia, forced the resignation of President Mubarak and the Military Junta that succeeded him abrogated the Constitution and promised free and fair elections under a new one.

On August 15, 2015 President al-Sisi enacted a new Counter Terrorism Law, which Human Rights Watch claims "mimics" language "already contained in Egypt’s decades-old Emergency Law". The new law gives the president, in article 53, power to take `appropriate measures to protect the general order and security` to confront the danger of terrorism or in case of an environmental catastrophe. This includes "the power to order six-month curfews or evacuations in defined areas, subject to a majority vote in parliament within seven days, or cabinet approval if parliament is not in session."[6]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Before the revolution, Mubarak tolerated limited political activity by the Brotherhood for his first two terms, but then moved more aggressively to block its influence (arguably leading to its recent rise in public support). Trade unions and professional associations are officially sanctioned. In 2014, in Upper Egypt, several newspapers reported that the region of Upper Egypt wants to secede from Egypt to try to improve living standards.[7]

Foreign relations

The permanent headquarters for the League of Arab States (The Arab League) is located in Cairo. The Secretary General of the League has traditionally been an Egyptian. Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu El Ghet is the present Secretary General of the Arab League. The Arab League moved out of Egypt to Tunis in 1978 as a protest at the peace treaty with Israel, but returned in 1989.

Egypt was the first Arab state to establish diplomatic relations with the state of Israel, after the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty at the Camp David Accords. Egypt has a major influence amongst other Arab states, and has historically played an important role as a mediator in resolving disputes between various Arab nations, and in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Most Arab nations still give credence to Egypt playing that role, though its effects are often limited.

Former Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali served as Secretary General of the United Nations from 1991 to 1996.

A territorial dispute with Sudan over an area known as the Hala'ib Triangle, has meant that diplomatic relations between the two remain strained.


  1. "Commission announces proposed changes to Egyptian Constitution". Egypt Independent. 26 February 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  2. "El-Sisi sworn in as Egypt president". Ahram Online. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  3. "Cabinet preliminarily passes law regulating electoral districts". Aswat Masriya. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  4. "50 member constitution committee eliminates Shura Council". Ahram Online. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  5. CNN Wire Staff (2 June 2012). "Egypt lifts unpopular emergency law". CNN. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  6. "Egypt: Counterterrorism Law Erodes Basic Rights". Human Rights Watch. August 19, 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  7. Gratowski, J. Thomas (17 February 2014). "Is Egypt Breaking Apart?". International Affairs Review. Retrieved 18 February 2014.


  • Kassem, Maye (2004). Egyptian Politics: The Dynamics of Authoritarian Rule. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 1-58826-247-2. 

External links

General government sites

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