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The Uncertain Fate Of Egypt’s Political Parties

A special report on the status of Egypt’s political parties in transition.
Egypt's interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei speaks during a news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (unseen) at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo July 30, 2013. Egypt's rulers allowed Ashton to meet deposed President Mohamed Mursi, the first time an outsider was given access to him since the army overthrew him and jailed him a month ago, but ruled out involving him in any negotiations. She revealed little about what she called a "friendly, open and very frank" tw

Polling since February has almost steadily indicated a general decline in the popularity of the country's political forces across the spectrum, suggesting a substantially independent, but equally alienated public. As the new administration appears to be leaning toward a single-candidate, plurality-based electoral system, there are worries it might foreshadow the effective death of the country’s post-January 2011 parties. Single-candidate systems in Egypt, especially in the absence of strong political parties, have tended to benefit those with large amounts of financial backing, with the (at times, not-so-tacit) endorsement of the state or with prominent families. Often, all three have ended up being the same person. This approach to elected representation does not seem like the best recipe for transitioning to a multiparty democracy, especially given the condition of many of the existing parties.

The National Salvation Front and secular-leaning parties

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