Egypt’s political turning point [Archives:2005/827/Opinion]

March 24 2005

Dr. Ali Saleh
Al-hagari Sana'a University
[email protected]

On February 2005, the Egyptian president Mubarak delivered a speech that marked a turning point in Egypt's political history, in which he called upon the Egyptian Parliament to make constitutional changes that allow a president to be selected from several candidates.

As positive as it is surprising, the speech is a considerable step forward for political freedom in Egypt. The decision to adopt free and fair presidential elections and multiparty pluralism is an indication of democratic development, in a country with a heritage of autocratic regimes.

Egypt, and the entire Arab world, have suffered economic hardship as well as political, social and cultural unrest under hegemonic governments for many years. The absence of a market-economy, a by-product of a freedom-based political system, has also brought many social and cultural setbacks. Political and economic competitiveness allows societies to achieve higher levels of growth and development.

Along with the renewed confidence for Egypt's people, the country's importance as a regional leader gives President Mubarak's recent stance significant potential to promote a similar path to other Arab regimes.