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Egypt’s Democratic Experiment: Challenges to a Positive Trajectory

As Egypt charts a path to democracy, it confronts the legacy of 60 years of dictatorship. President Morsi faces an ongoing power struggle with state institutions, including the judiciary, that are resistant to change. Furthermore, the opposition is unwilling to play by the rules of the democratic game and is primarily focused on undermining the government through street protests rather than the ballot box. If Morsi can navigate through these political challenges, Egypt can emerge from the present economic downturn and move towards a potentially dynamic political and economic trajectory.

Egypt s Democratic Experiment Challenges to a Positive Trajectory
Egyptian protesters take part in demonstration to show their support for their country’s military and against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, on March 15, 2013 in Cairo. AFP / Khaled Desouki
 

The end of Mubarak’s rule was momentous both in terms of how it came about through popular protests and his trial. The barrier of fear was broken, and Egyptians of different political views could now voice their opinions, all of which was no small development in a country that had known various forms of political repression for 60 years. However, the legacy of dictatorship continues to mar every aspect of the Egyptian state and society. The damage will take decades to reverse and the extent of that damage is felt today by those who want to institute reform, whether it be the government or civil society.

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