Egypt Headed for Rubber-Stamp Elections
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Egypt strayed further from the democratic path in the eighth months since the military-backed government took power, according to Freedom House’s Egypt Democracy Compass.
“The Egyptian authorities have shown that the freedoms protected in the new constitution have no weight in reality,” said Vanessa Tucker, vice president for analysis at Freedom House. “As the government cracks down on freedom of expression, and continues to jail anyone advocating even a hint of political opposition, it has made clear that the upcoming presidential election will be no more than a rubber stamp for a new military administration.”
Of the eight indicators of democratic progress tracked by the Egypt Democracy Compass, all were stalled in February. The government maintained its targeted campaign to crush freedom of expression with additional arrests of journalists. On the eve of the new academic term, authorities prohibited all political activity on university campuses, traditionally a center of political demonstrations. Secular activists arrested over the past few months continue to sit in jail, just at the time when the opposition should be allowed to begin building campaigns for the upcoming elections.
“The election law is being finalized and preparations for the presidential election are under way, but the continued erosion of democratic participation renders any political competition impossible,” Tucker said. “Egypt is no longer on any discernable course to democracy, and elections held in this environment will only underscore the farce of the government’s ‘roadmap.’”
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.