Egypt’s Presidential Elections: What to Read

Our “must-read” list of Egyptian presidential election coverage.


“Quick Guide: The lowdown on Egypt’s presidential frontrunners,” Bassem Sabry in Al Ahram Online.
“[T]he public remains largely undecided on their choice for president…”

“Egypt’s Second Republic” in the Economist.
“There is no doubt that Egypt’s stolid old pyramid of state, capped by a pharaonic president, will be reshaped into something else. But just what shape that may be, no one yet knows.”

 “Democracy’s Growing Pains,” Ashraf Khalil in the Cairo Review of Global Affairs.
“Egypt’s next president will take the helm of a country on the cusp of a renaissance and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”

Meet the Candidates

“Amr Moussa Makes an Insider’s Run for President,”
Kareem Fahim in the New York Times.
“On the campaign trail, Mr. Moussa invokes Egypt’s glorious past, promising a renaissance… and has promised to serve only one four-year term.”

“Morsi Escalates Battle Over Islam’s Role,” David D. Kirkpatrick in the New York Times.
“Mr. Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s dominant Islamist group, declared last week that his party platform amounted to a distillation of Islam itself.”

“A Man of All Seasons,” Shadi Hamid in Foreign Policy.
On independent candidate Abed Moneim Aboul Fotouh’s ability to bridge gaps and how he has fashioned himself into a “political chameleon.”

Also see: Aboul Fotouh, in 2006, responds to a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace policy paper on Islamist movements [pdf].

“Dark-Horse Candidates Add to Egypt’s Suspense,” Liam Stack and David D. Kirkpatrick in the New York Times.

Also see: “Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak’s last prime minister, is the surprise contender in Egypt’s presidential race,” Hannah Allam in McClatchy.

“Nasserist candidate Sabbahi in the eyes of intellectuals, artists,” Ati Metwaly in Al Ahram Online.

Guide to Candidates in the 2012 Egyptian Presidential Election in the Cairo Review.
The Issues

“In platforms, presidential candidates reassure on rights and liberties,”
Sarah Carr in theEgypt Independent.
“One of the central demands of the 25 January revolution was for a government that respects civil liberties…. [A]ll candidates claim in their platforms that they want to eradicate the previous repression and protect civil rights.”

“Mapping Egypt’s Electorate,” Michael Wahid Hanna in the Middle East Channel.

“Ad Wars Ahead of Egyptian Presidential Vote,” Mayy El Sheikh and Robert Mackey in NYT’sThe Lede.

“Opinion polls give few clues to Egypt presidential election,” Jon Leyne in BBC.
“[A] crucial factor is the very high proportion of undecided voters…. Perhaps the most sobering lesson from the parliamentary elections last year is how little most ‘opinion formers’ in Cairo know about public opinion across this vast country.”

The Military’s Role

“Egypt’s generals to redraw powers of presidency on eve of vote to fill post,” Ernesto Londoño in the Washington Post.
“It’s really anybody’s guess how these powers are going to be enumerated,” said Steven A. Cook, a foreign policy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations

“The Egyptian Republic of Retired Generals,” By Zeinab Abul-Magd in the Middle East Channel.
On the industries and private enterprises dominated by the military, and the challenges posed to the next president and the parliament.

For more on the deep state that will endure no matter whom is elected, read “Egypt’s Generals and Transnational Capital” in the Middle East Report.

“Widespread Military Torture of Protesters Arrested in May Impunity Enables Further Abuse,” Human Right Watch.
“The brutal beating of both men and women protesters shows that military officers have no sense of limits on what they can do,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“Lost in Transition: The World According to Egypt’s SCAF,” International Crisis Group.
“…[T]he performance of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has been, at times, head-scratching…. On the eve of presidential elections that have become a high-stakes free-for-all, the SCAF should take a step back and, with the full range of political actors, agree on principles for a genuine and safe political transition.”