Egypt's Constitutional Test: Averting the March Toward Islamic Fundamentalism

48 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2007 Last revised: 18 Oct 2008

See all articles by Hany Besada

Hany Besada

Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

Date Written: August 2007


After gaining overwhelming support in a March 2007 national referendum, long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak introduced new constitutional amendments that effectively give more power to the president and loosen controls on security forces. Mubarak's amendments constitute the latest move in a set of orchestrated plans not only to entrench the stronghold of his own National Democratic Party and pave the way for his son as his successor but also to curb the power and ambition of his greatest opposition - the Muslim Brotherhood. As he steps into his fifth consecutive six-year term in office, Mubarak and his regime are being met with harsh criticism as opposition groups, human rights advocates, and Western governments urge for meaningful democratic reform in the country. But promoting democracy is a complex issue in Egypt, and indeed in much of the Arab world. Mubarak and other leaders face the Islamist Dilemma, where any move toward a more democracy-friendly political system threatens to empower Islamic militants and open the floodgates for non-secular political parties.

Keywords: Egypt, Fragile State, Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood, election, constitution, national democratic party, democratic reform, arab world

Suggested Citation

Besada, Hany, Egypt's Constitutional Test: Averting the March Toward Islamic Fundamentalism (August 2007). CIGI Working Paper No. 28, Islamic Law and Law of the Muslim World Paper No. 08-07, Available at SSRN: or

Hany Besada (Contact Author)

Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2

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